Affordable Care Act

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for our weekly business segment, The Bottom Line.

This week Mark and Dave sit down with Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island CFO Michael Hudson, who explains why the company has laid off 80 employees. 

 When to listen:

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.     

Photo courtesy of Care New England

Care New England has entered exclusive talks with Southcoast Health System, a southeastern Massachusetts chain of community hospitals, about a possible affiliation. If state and federal regulators approve the partnership, the combined organization would become one of the largest in New England.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A large medical practice is being recognized for its effort to save money and improve patient care. Coastal Medical has earned recognition from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

The high rating comes for Coastal Medical’s shared savings program, a new model of paying for health care under Obamacare. Here’s how it works: Coastal Medical has contracts with several health insurers that say, 'if you keep patients healthier, and save us money, we’ll split the savings with you.' 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Community Health Centers have gotten a couple of funding boosts this week. The funds are intended to expand access to primary care and dental care.

Thundermist Health Center in Woonsocket will receive $1 million dollar federal grant to add exam rooms and hire more primary care doctors. 

Lifespan and Care New England, Rhode Island’s two largest hospital systems, have quietly revived merger talks, Lifespan ceo and president, Dr. Timothy Babineau, said today.

In a brief interview, Babineau said the talks ``are in very early stages’’ and are in response to Care New England’s request for partnership proposals that was released last spring.

U.S. Supreme Court

Today’s Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act means tax credits are still available for people who buy health insurance on the federal exchange.

Rhode Island set up its own exchange, HealthSource RI. And because of that, the ruling would not have affected the Ocean State either way. Rhode Islanders who qualify for subsidies to help pay for health insurance will continue to receive them.

Congratulations, class of 2015! You've got your diploma, and you're headed out into the world to start your life as an adult. Well done. If you've already lined up a job, with health insurance, doubly well done! But if not, don't worry. And don't assume you have to go without coverage. You have options.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State lawmakers heard testimony Wednesday about a proposed tax on health insurance to pay for the state’s online health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI.

Federal Obamacare money covered the startup cost of HealthSource RI – the state’s marketplace for individual and small business insurance plans. But now Rhode Island must come up with the money to keep it going, or turn it over to the feds. Gov. Gina Raimondo’s budget proposal includes a tax on every individual and small business health plan – whether bought on the exchange or not – to pay for HealthSource RI.

HealthSource RI is out with its most recent enrollment data.

It looks like the state's online health insurance marketplace kept two-thirds (71%) of enrollees from last year and gained a quarter more (about 5,000 new enrollees). So with total enrollments for 2015 at 22,910, HealthSource RI didn't lose a bunch of customers but didn't gain a whole lot either.

Enrollment on the state’s health insurance marketplace Health Source R-I is going relatively smoothly. This is the second enrollment period since it opened last year.

Health Source RI spokeswoman Maria Tocco says there were some minor issues with the web site and the call center phones but they were addressed quickly. Wait times swelled over the weekend and some scheduled appointments for hours later.

Data on the number of individual and family enrollments so far are expected toward the end of this week.

Today marks the beginning of open enrollment for HealthSource RI, the state’s online health insurance marketplace. It’s the second enrollment period for the exchange. Plus, there have been some changes.

It’s open enrollment now for individuals and families who don’t have health insurance or need to renew a plan they bought on Health Source the last time around. Enrollment is open through February 15. Plans bought on the exchange last year will not automatically renew.

This Saturday the state’s online health insurance marketplace, Health Source RI, opens for enrollment. It’s the second open enrollment period since HealthSource launched. This year there a couple of changes.

HealthSource faces an uncertain future in Rhode Island as we have a new governor and funding for the exchange runs out at the end of 2015.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s health care reporter Kristin Gourlay joins host Elisabeth Harrison to talk about what’s new on HealthSource this year, and what to make of the uncertainty.

The main promise of the Affordable Care Act was - and is - to get more Americans covered by health insurance. But news today about Walmart's dropping coverage for 30,000 part-time workers reminds us there's still a rocky road to coverage for some.

With open enrollment for coverage through the health insurance exchanges right around the corner (Nov. 15), I thought it might be a good time to shine a spotlight on a couple of groups affected.

October 15 marks the start of open enrollment for anyone who wants to switch Medicare Advantage plans or join Medicare Part D, the prescription drug plan.

November 15 is when open enrollment begins for HealthSource RI, the second time around for Rhode Island's online health insurance marketplace for individuals, families, and small businesses.

Here's what we know so far about the options.

Since the beginning of this year, Rhode Island’s hospitals have seen a nearly 18 percent drop in the amount of charity care they must provide. Hospitals provide millions in uncompensated care to people who can’t pay or don’t have insurance. But the number of people without insurance has dwindled since the roll out of the Affordable Care Act. As a result, acting president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island Mike Souza says hospitals may be recouping as much as $40 million more dollars this year.