Under new, tighter eligibility rules, thousands of parents of children with RIte Care health insurance are slated to lose their coverage at the end of this month. But they’re getting an extra month to pick a new plan.
Until recently, you could make up to $41,000 dollars a year and get health coverage called RIte Care along with your kids. But Rhode Island has recently narrowed the eligibility requirements for parents in this Medicaid program. Now, earnings must be about $32,000 dollars or less. This means that about 5,000 parents will lose coverage, down from about 6500 originally identified. State health officials hope these parents will shop for commercial health insurance on the state’s health insurance marketplace: HealthSource RI. But time is running out to get coverage that starts in January. So Executive Office of Health and Human Services secretary Steven Costantino says they’re extending the deadline past December 23rd.
“I didn’t want December 23rd [to come around] and find out that these people did not have insurance," said Costantino. "So I wanted a continuation of their insurance and give them the month of January to make the decision.”
Costantino said navigators with the HealthSource RI call center will also reach out to parents on RIte Care to help them pick a plan.
The state will pay the first month’s premium, and after that, many will be eligible for federal subsidies.
Costantino also said the state is offering to enroll parents automatically in a Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island commercial health plan, available on HealthSource RI, to ease the transition. But that enrollment is voluntary; parents can pick another plan on the exchange, or go without health insurance.