Today is the last day on the job for Rhode Island’s –and the nation’s—first commissioner of health insurance. Chris Koller is leaving the position to take the helm of a foundation in New York City. He leaves behind some significant changes in the health insurance marketplace.
Since Chris Koller took office in January 2005, he’s established an annual review process for health insurers that requires them to state their case for raising premium prices. He’s pushed insurers to help health care providers and patients lower costs. And he says one of his most important accomplishments has been to boost Rhode Islanders’ access to and ability to afford primary care.
“We really tried to put together standards for what constitutes high quality primary care," said Koller, "and then to align payments across the insurers through this Chronic Care Sustainability Initiative, our patient-centered medical home project, that, by the end of the year, 20 percent of our primary care practices will be enrolled in it.”
Koller says the initiative provides an incentive for doctors to keep patients healthier, and a way for insurers to compensate them for it. Governor Lincoln Chafee has nominated former Lifespan executive and Miriam hospital president Kathleen Hittner as Koller’s replacement.
Koller stopped by our studios to reflect on his time in office. You can hear the full interview here.