health insurance

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.

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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.

The Obama administration has extended the deadline to sign up for health insurance coverage that takes effect January first by one week. Rhode Islanders now have until December 23rd to enroll in a plan on HealthSource RI.

Individuals and small businesses have another week to sign up for health insurance coverage that begins January 1st. The new deadline is December 23rd, instead of December 15, to accommodate consumers who may have had trouble signing up online and to ease the possible rush of sign-ups at the last minute.

You might be, if:

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Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI, said several hundred small businesses have started applications for health plans through the site. And there’s more new data about who is enrolling in plans on the exchange.

Hiccups in a federal database have caused some problems for Rhode Island’s own online health insurance marketplace, health-source RI. That database is working again now. But there are ongoing issues with verifying an applicant’s identity.

The Waiting Room project

Last night I watched the beautifully crafted documentary "The Waiting Room." It captures 24 hours in a single hospital's waiting room, following the stories of a diverse cast of patients and staff. There's no narration except how the characters tell their own stories and how those weave into the larger story this documentary tells.

Wikimedia Commons

United Healthcare has notified an unknown number of Rhode Island doctors that they’re being cut from its Medicare Advantage plan network. The news comes during Medicare’s open enrollment period and could affect thousands of senior citizens in the Ocean State.

You may have heard about United Healthcare's decision to cut a number of doctors from its Medicare Advantage plan in Rhode Island and some surrounding states. That means that, for some seniors, their doctor may no longer be considered "in network" - and, therefore, no longer affordable for some, since "out of network" doctor visits cost more.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island has opened its first retail location in Warwick, another sign of the shifting health insurance business landscape.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The head of Rhode Island's online insurance marketplace says she's encouraged by the amount of interest consumers have shown in signing up for health insurance on the state’s newly launched health exchange.

It’s been up and running since October 1st to help uninsured Rhode Islanders and small businesses get the health coverage most are required to have by January 2014.

Healthsource RI leader Christy Ferguson briefed state senators on how it’s working last night. She says the exchange could help drive down health care costs if plenty of small businesses sign up.

The Providence Center has received a $1.7 million dollar federal grant to try to help people with mental health problems avoid the emergency room.  The program could help hospitals, and the state, slash some of the most expensive medical bills.      

HealthSource RI – Rhode Island’s online health insurance marketplace – has attracted more than 30,000 visits since launching on October 1st.

Nearly 40,000 people have called the exchange’s call center. And more than 33,000 have visited the web site.

But just a few thousand have taken the extra step to create an account. And less than 800 have actually completed an application – meaning they’ve selected a health plan, had their identity verified, and either paid for the plan or will soon.

That depends.

If you're uninsured or the health insurance your employer offers costs more than 9.5% of your income, you can now shop for a plan on Rhode Island's newly launched healthsourceri.com. That's the Ocean State's version of the online marketplaces now open for business across the country under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

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