HealthSource RI Working, But Bedeviled By Federal Database

Oct 31, 2013

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.

When you begin signing up for a health insurance plan on the state’s HealthSource RI, the site verifies your identity by communicating with a federal database. For most people, no problem. But if the database crashes or even if there’s a simple misspelling in your name, applicants can hit a roadblock. The workaround? Bring your ID to a HealthSource RI office or mail in a photocopy. But Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts says Rhode Islanders may be confused about whether the site is working at all.

“They think that what they’re seeing on the national news is not what’s going on in Rhode Island," said Roberts. "And we’re trying to help them to realize because we created our own health benefits exchange, HealthSource RI, that ours is running. We have occasional glitches largely related to our need to verify data with the federal government, but it’s pretty smooth.”

Roberts has been traveling around Rhode Island promoting HealthSource RI. She says she’s pleased with how staff have been working around the federal glitches.