Businesses Forced To Add Workers To Health Plans

WRNI – Employers in Rhode Island are finding out their health care costs are about to increase significantly. The Rhode Island Department of Human Services is changing the way it admisters the RIteshare Program. The change will result in more people seeking insurance through their employers.

RIteshare is an alternative to the state?s costly RItecare program. Under the program, the state pays an employee?s share of health insurance costs. Until now, those payments have been made to employers taking part in the program voluntarily.

In January, the state will begin making payments to workers instead. The effect is that any employed person currently insured through RItecare could be switched to their employer?s health plan.

Some business leaders are questioning the wisdom of the new policy. They complain it could add significant costs for many companies trying to get by in an economic downturn.

WRNI?s Martha Bebinger prepared this report for Morning Edition.