Chris Koller, Rhode Island’s first commissioner of health insurance, spent his last day in office today. Before he heads to New York City to take over as president of the Milbank Memorial Fund, he stopped by our studios to reflect on his time in office here.
The General Assembly created Koller’s position – a first in the nation, too – in the mid-2000s to help address growing concern over the cost of health insurance and how insurers were paying health care providers.
Since he took office in January 2005, he's changed the way insurers can raise premiums, tried to increase transparency around the cost of health care in this state, and helped insurers and health care providers team up to lower costs through better primary care.
In the interview, Koller explains why Rhode Islanders’ health insurance rates may continue to rise in the next couple of years, but may begin to come down as the state improves primary care medicine. But first, he reflects on what’s changed in health care since he took office. In two words, a lot.
Our discussion includes more about what he believes he's accomplished with one of his signature projects, the Chronic Care Sustainability initiative.
Governor Lincoln Chafee has nominated Kathleen Hittner, MD as Koller's replacement.