Enrollments Rise On RI Health Exchange Despite Uncertain Future

Mar 19, 2018

State officials reported Monday that Rhode Island’s enrollments in insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act rose 5 percent, despite cuts in federal subsidies for the coverage.

More than 1,400 additional residents signed up for coverage for 2018 through the state exchange, HealthSourceRI, compared with a year ago. One reason for the increase: more 18- to 34-year olds signed up for coverage.

Rhode Island is one of 17 states reporting increases in enrollments under Obamacare, according to the nonprofit National Academy for State Health Policy. Rhode Island reported the biggest gain among state-run insurance exchanges, according to preliminary enrollment data.

Rhode Island’s 5 percent increase in enrollments in individual and family plans reflects only people who paid for coverage in 2018, while state-by-state comparisons include anyone who signed up prior to the deadline, Kyrie Perry, a spokeswoman for HealthSourceRI, said.

Rhode Island’s enrollment gains come despite the Trump administration’s decision to cut federal subsidies for health insurers to help cover the cost of insuring low-income residents. The fear was that the cuts would drive up the premiums for middle-class customers. But Rhode Island, like many other state-run insurance exchanges, was able to offset the impact of the cuts in federal subsidies by re-shuffling customers who don’t qualify for subsidies to different plans.

HealthSourceRI also reported growth in its small business market, which now enrolls 700 businesses employing over 5,200 residents. The report said that Rhode Island’s small business exchange has the largest market share among 14 comparable state-based exchanges in the country.