Lawmakers are being asked to decide the fate of HealthSource RI, the state’s online health insurance exchange. At issue is how to pay for it, or whether to scrap it. And plenty of voices are weighing in on the conversation. The latest claims state officials were told years ago that building an exchange wasn’t viable but did it anyway.
As you may know, there's a debate in the Rhode Island Statehouse over how to fund the state's online health insurance marketplace, HealthSource RI, after the Obamacare money runs out. Some say the $17 - $23 million dollar price tag to fund the site, customer service reps and centers, and infrastructure needed to negotiate for health insurance plans for sale on the site is just too much for a state with anemic coffers.
Rhode Island's health insurance exchange HealthSource RI says it needs $4.6 million dollars to keep running through fiscal year 2015.
The money would need to come from the state. HealthSource RI director Christine Ferguson says the money would cover the program's operating costs, and will allow federal funding to cover program development.
As you may know, today is the deadline for individuals and families to sign up for health insurance coverage through HealthSource RI, if you don't already have coverage. But what happens tomorrow?
Well, if you're an individual or a family without coverage now, and you can't get it through your employer or via Medicaid, you'll have to wait until the next open enrollment period, November 15, 2014. Also, you might face a tax penalty.
Monday is the deadline to enroll in a health insurance plan through HealthSource RI, the state’s online insurance marketplace. That’s the last chance to enroll until November.
The push is on to attract as many eligible Rhode Islanders to HealthSource RI to sign up for a health insurance plan. March 31st is the deadline to enroll in coverage in order to avoid a tax penalty for the year. And the next open enrollment period doesn’t start until mid-November for coverage that begins the following January. So if you were waiting until the last minute, now’s the time.
Another study seems to suggest that, contrary to previous assumptions, it does.
Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston have just published the results of a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine that looked at all emergency department visits at 69 hospitals between the fall of 2006 and the fall of 2009. In 2006, Massachusetts expanded access to health insurance to nearly everyone in the state.
Rhode Island took advantage of millions in federal dollars to build and launch its own health insurance exchange. Now as that federal money is about to run out, HealthSource RI director Christine Ferguson says she’s got a plan for the 2015 fiscal year, which starts this July.
Looks like a mixed bag. Check out this interactive map from the Commonwealth Fund. Of the states with their own, state-run marketplaces, some plan to raise revenue for their exchanges with taxes or "assessments" on health insurance premiums, for instance. Others, like Rhode Island, seem to be still undecided.
The latest numbers out of the state's health insurance exchange show most residents are enrolling in Medicaid and And many of those who have enrolled in private health insurance are getting financial assistance to help pay for their coverage.
New numbers show nearly 20,000 Rhode Islanders have signed up for insurance on HealthSource RI, the state's insurance exchange. Meanwhile, almost 49,000 have enrolled in a state-paid Medicaid plan. The numbers also show 133 small businesses have enrolled to offer their employees and families coverage through the exchange.