obamacare

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Sen. Josh Miller (D-Cranston) has had a front row seat during the implementation of Obamacare in Rhode Island. Now, the prospect of a Trump presidency is creating uncertainty among proponents of the law. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A state of uncertainty lingers for Rhode Island’s online health insurance marketplace, HealthSource RI, now that Donald Trump has been elected president. Trump has promised to repeal Obamacare, which made the exchanges possible. 

RIPR file photo

Open enrollment for health insurance plans on Rhode Island’s exchange, HealthSource RI, begins Tuesday, November 1st. There will be fewer plans, but lower premiums this time around.

Monthly premiums are increasing by double digits for health insurance plans sold on the federal Obamacare exchange. But in Rhode Island, HealthSource RI head Zach Sherman says it's just the opposite.

Kristin Gourlay / ripr

Sixty thousand more Rhode Islanders - Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island commercial health insurance members -  will be enrolled in health care projects designed to save money and improve care. 

RIPR FILE

Time is running out to enroll in health insurance if you don’t already have it. And, the penalty for not having insurance goes up substantially in 2016.

If you can afford health insurance but don’t buy it, the federal government will charge every adult in your household $695 dollars or two-point-five percent of your annual household income, whichever is higher. 

And if you can’t afford health insurance or don’t get it through work, you’re not alone. Most of the enrollees on HealthSource RI to-date have qualified for some kind of financial assistance.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A large medical practice is being recognized for its effort to save money and improve patient care. Coastal Medical has earned recognition from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The high rating comes for Coastal Medical’s shared savings program, a new model of paying for health care under Obamacare. Here’s how it works: Coastal Medical has contracts with several health insurers that say, 'if you keep patients healthier, and save us money, we’ll split the savings with you.' 

Lifespan and Care New England, Rhode Island’s two largest hospital systems, have quietly revived merger talks, Lifespan ceo and president, Dr. Timothy Babineau, said today.

In a brief interview, Babineau said the talks ``are in very early stages’’ and are in response to Care New England’s request for partnership proposals that was released last spring.

Aaron Read

Just 5 percent of Rhode Islanders now lack health insurance and the uninsured rate has dropped by more than half since 2012, according to data released today by HealthSourceRI, the state’s Obamacare health exchange.

The rate of Rhode Islanders who lack health insurance has declined from 11 percent in 2012 to 5 percent now.

Anya Rader Wallack, HealthSource director, said the numbers show the Affordable Care Act is working best in states, like Rhode Island, that have expanded Medicaid and run state-based health exchanges, rather than relying on the federal program.

U.S. Supreme Court

Today’s Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act means tax credits are still available for people who buy health insurance on the federal exchange.

Rhode Island set up its own exchange, HealthSource RI. And because of that, the ruling would not have affected the Ocean State either way. Rhode Islanders who qualify for subsidies to help pay for health insurance will continue to receive them.

RIPR FILE

A new poll shows that Rhode Islanders expect stronger political leadership over the next few years, although many still feel the state is going in the wrong direction. The poll was commissioned by the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University.

43 percent of respondents say the state is going in the wrong direction. Yet 54 percent expect elected officials to provide strong leadership moving forward.

For Rhode Island’s top problem, 30 percent of respondents cite job opportunities, 19 percent point to taxes, and 14 percent identify corruption.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State lawmakers heard testimony Wednesday about a proposed tax on health insurance to pay for the state’s online health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI.

Federal Obamacare money covered the startup cost of HealthSource RI – the state’s marketplace for individual and small business insurance plans. But now Rhode Island must come up with the money to keep it going, or turn it over to the feds. Gov. Gina Raimondo’s budget proposal includes a tax on every individual and small business health plan – whether bought on the exchange or not – to pay for HealthSource RI.

HealthSource RI is out with its most recent enrollment data.

It looks like the state's online health insurance marketplace kept two-thirds (71%) of enrollees from last year and gained a quarter more (about 5,000 new enrollees). So with total enrollments for 2015 at 22,910, HealthSource RI didn't lose a bunch of customers but didn't gain a whole lot either.

Ian Donnis / RIPR

Governor-elect Gina Raimondo on Sunday said she's nominating Elizabeth Roberts to lead the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services with the expectation that Roberts will make EOHHS a national leader in controlling growing Medicaid costs.

Enrollment on the state’s health insurance marketplace Health Source R-I is going relatively smoothly. This is the second enrollment period since it opened last year.

Health Source RI spokeswoman Maria Tocco says there were some minor issues with the web site and the call center phones but they were addressed quickly. Wait times swelled over the weekend and some scheduled appointments for hours later.

Data on the number of individual and family enrollments so far are expected toward the end of this week.

Today marks the beginning of open enrollment for HealthSource RI, the state’s online health insurance marketplace. It’s the second enrollment period for the exchange. Plus, there have been some changes.

It’s open enrollment now for individuals and families who don’t have health insurance or need to renew a plan they bought on Health Source the last time around. Enrollment is open through February 15. Plans bought on the exchange last year will not automatically renew.

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