Open enrollment for Rhode Island’s online health insurance marketplace, HealthSource RI, begins November 15. Individuals who are already enrolled must renew their coverage.
Individuals and families who enrolled in a health insurance plan on HealthSource RI the last time around must renew their coverage or pick a new plan by December 23rd. Why? One reason is that their coverage will not automatically renew. Another , said Health Source RI head Christine Ferguson is the choices have changed.
Many small businesses will be renewing health insurance coverage for their employees beginning in September. And HealthSource RI head Christine Ferguson says she hopes small business owners will consider plans on the state’s health insurance exchange. They’ll find some new options this time around, she says.
“We are in the finalization of the plan design. And we have plans that cost less than they cost last year," said Ferguson. "And we have a wider range of options. We have more carriers in the market for individuals as well as on the employer side.”
How much will health insurance cost you next year? Well, you’ll find out soon. Health insurers have submitted their plans for next year, including how much they want to charge customers and what benefits those plans will include.
In Rhode Island, it’s the office of the health insurance commissioner that reviews those plans and decides whether to approve or reject them, or ask for some changes.
As you may know, there's a debate in the Rhode Island Statehouse over how to fund the state's online health insurance marketplace, HealthSource RI, after the Obamacare money runs out. Some say the $17 - $23 million dollar price tag to fund the site, customer service reps and centers, and infrastructure needed to negotiate for health insurance plans for sale on the site is just too much for a state with anemic coffers.
Rhode Island's health insurance exchange HealthSource RI says it needs $4.6 million dollars to keep running through fiscal year 2015.
The money would need to come from the state. HealthSource RI director Christine Ferguson says the money would cover the program's operating costs, and will allow federal funding to cover program development.
Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment called The Bottom Line.
This week, HealthSource RI director Christine Ferguson joins Dave and Mark to talk about the approaching deadline for open enrollment, how to attract more small businesses, young 'invincibles,' and Latinos to the health insurance exchange, and funding the exchange into the future.
When to Listen You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.
Rhode Island took advantage of millions in federal dollars to build and launch its own health insurance exchange. Now as that federal money is about to run out, HealthSource RI director Christine Ferguson says she’s got a plan for the 2015 fiscal year, which starts this July.
Looks like a mixed bag. Check out this interactive map from the Commonwealth Fund. Of the states with their own, state-run marketplaces, some plan to raise revenue for their exchanges with taxes or "assessments" on health insurance premiums, for instance. Others, like Rhode Island, seem to be still undecided.