health insurance

A new analysis out from the US Health and Human Services agency estimates that about 17,000 uninsured Latinos in Rhode Island may qualify for assistance buying a health insurance plan on HealthSource RI or for Medicaid. That's out of RI's total Latino population of about 112,000. Both seem like sizeable numbers for a state of only about a million.

file / RIPR

Rhode Island’s online health insurance exchange has nearly doubled enrollment numbers since January. The news comes as the deadline for individuals to get covered is less than two weeks away.

More than 16,000 Rhode Islanders have enrolled in health insurance plans on HealthSource RI as of this past weekend. That’s up from 9800 at the beginning of January.  HealthSource RI says most enrollees have qualified for some kind of help paying for those plans – a reduced monthly premium and assistance with co-pays and deductibles.

Associated Press / University of Minnesota, State Health Access Data Assistance Center

A new analysis of some of the most recent census data for the Associated Press by the University of Minnesota's State Health Access Data Assistance Center finds that half the nation's uninsured people under age 65 live in just 116 of the nation's 3143 counties.

Providence County, RI is one of those, as you can see on this map here.

More than 15% of the county's 500,000 or so citizens are uninsured, according to the analysis.

News from the state's health insurance commissioner (OHIC): insurers are making good on their commitment to invest more of their premium revenue in primary care. OHIC directed insurers to raise the amount they spend on their members' primary care by one percentage point every year for four years. And in a new report the agency says they're going to hit those targets.

Here's a sampling of headlines from the past two days about the latest Obamacare exchange enrollment numbers (thanks to Kaiser Health News for rounding these up):

Aaron Read / RIPR

About 4500 parents who used to have health insurance through RIte Care, the state’s Medicaid program, will have to reapply for insurance if they want to remain covered after the end of the month. The biggest concern is that the poorest Rhode Islanders may not be able to afford it.

Some of the lowest-income Rhode Islanders may be losing their health insurance coverage or paying a bit more for it by the end of this month.

Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange reports that more than 9800 Rhode Islanders have signed up for health coverage with private insurance plans to date. And while you might have missed the deadline to get covered as of January 1st, enrollment remains open through March 31st.

Lots of news organizations, including this one, are ticking off the year's top 10 stories. I'd like to run through some of Rhode Island's bottom health stories, meaning the ones least likely to have appeared on radar screens - but which should have. And don't worry: there's some good news in here too!

In no particular order:

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.

This week Dave and Mark talk with HealthSource RI Director Christine Ferguson. They take a look at the response of small businesses in the state to the new health insurance marketplace and separating Rhode Island’s health exchange from the problems at the federal level.

When to Listen

Flo Jonic / RIPR

A couple of deadlines tied to Obamacare are coming up. One of them for people signing up for coverage that starts January first … that deadline is the day before, December 31st.

It's been a year since the tragedy in Newtown, CT took so many lives, including that of the gunman, who some believe was battling serious mental illness but may not have gotten all the treatment he needed.

We’ve heard lots, since then, about the need for more mental health resources, and lots about the rollercoaster ride of federal and state funding for those resources. Here’s a round up of some of the year’s most significant developments for mental health patients and advocates:

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.

This week Dave and Mark talk with insurance broker James Raiola of Mass Mutal. They discuss the how the state’s health insurance exchange is offering plans for small businesses and what kind of company can benefit from using the exchange.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

file / RIPR

A bit more than 2600 Rhode Islanders have signed up for health insurance coverage through HealthSource RI. That's a fraction of everyone who’s eligible-- 2%, to be exact, of the estimated 125,000 uninsured Rhode Islanders who could sign up for coverage on Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange.

A federal judge in Connecticut is blocking United Healthcare’s move to drop hundreds of doctors from its Medicare Advantage network.

The Hartford Courant reports that the Fairfield and Hartford County Medical Associations convinced the court that removing the more than 2-thousand doctors in Connecticut from the health insurance network would be too damaging. And that the insurer plans to appeal the decision.

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