Affordable Care Act

That depends.

If you're uninsured or the health insurance your employer offers costs more than 9.5% of your income, you can now shop for a plan on Rhode Island's newly launched That's the Ocean State's version of the online marketplaces now open for business across the country under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

It's day two for, Rhode Island's newly launched online marketplace for health insurance under Obamacare.

And while there's lots that looks good and seems quite intuitive, it's still a little glitchy. You might have some trouble actually completing the process to sign up for health insurance today if you go online. But you can still call or visit a walk-in center.

Operations at the Naval Station Newport are carrying on without hundreds of civilian workers caught up in the partial government shut down. The Naval Station Newport says about 800 civilians were furloughed. And over at the Naval War College, civilian instructors are staying home Wednesday and throughout the shutdown. Commander Carla McCarthy said that’s forced some classes to be suspended.

RI Health Exchange Gets Off to a Bumpy Start

Oct 1, 2013
Flo Jonic / RIPR

A crush of users caused the HealthSource RI website to temporarily crash Tuesday morning.  HealthSource RI, Rhode Island’s answer to Obamacare, is an online marketplace where uninsured people and small businesses can buy health insurance. 

HealthSource RI received 4,000 calls in the first hour of business.  During that same time frame, 6,000 people were checking out the HealthSource RI website every minute. It was too much for the system to take.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

HealthSource RI, the state’s health insurance exchange goes online Tuesday. The state is operating its own exchange, offering plans for both uninsured residents and small businesses. Enrollment starts today, with coverage kicking in January 1st. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay sat down with the director of HealthSource RI, Christine Ferguson, about what Rhode Islanders can expect when they log on to the exchange.

file / RIPR

The federal government is edging closer to a government shutdown. President Barack Obama said he'll veto legislation coming out of the House that delays much of the Affordable Care Act for a year.  Over in the Democratic-run Senate, it has passed legislation preventing the shutdown and leaving Obamacare untouched. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay sat down with Rhode Island’s senior senator Jack Reed to talk about what could be done to avoid a shutdown.

Rhode Island’s experiment in crafting a 21st Century health care marketplace begins tomorrow Tues. Oct 1). RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay on why we should be rooting for success.

From the Williamette Valley to the Pawtuxet Valley, the debate over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, rages among politicians and the media. Some congressional Tea Party conservatives are even threatening to shut down the federal government if Obamacare goes forward.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

Representatives of HealthSource RI, the state-run health insurance exchange, are meeting with Latino business owners in Central Falls Wednesday. It’s part of a push to educate the state’s growing Latino community about the upcoming exchange. Rhode Island Public Radio’s Catherine Welch was at a similar meeting last week in Pawtucket, where she learned about the challenges of translating a complex health care system to non-English speakers.

Starting October 1st, Rhode Islanders can start signing up for health insurance through an online marketplace that’s a cornerstone of what’s known as Obamacare. The marketplace will offer a number of insurance plans for individuals, families and employers.  It is being run by the state, and on Tuesday the state released how much the plans will cost.

The state-run health insurance exchange has released rates on the 28 plans it will offer residents and small businesses.

The exchange, known as HealthSource RI, offers a dozen plans to individuals and families. Three insurers are providing the coverage that range in price depending on a person’s age and whether they want a “gold” “silver” or “bronze” plan. The assumption is that younger people are healthier so if a 21-year-old and a 45-year-old want the same “gold” plan, the 45-year-old is going to pay $126 more in monthly premiums.


The debate over Obamacare rages from Providence to Pasadena. As the state moves closer to launching its health insurance exchange, Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay parses the arguments and traces the law’s Rhode Island roots.

Ask Rhode Island Republican State Chairman Mark Smiley what he thinks of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare and you’ll get a blunt answer:  He says, ``I hate it.’’

Providence Business News Editor Mark Murphy joins Rhode Island Public Radio's Dave Fallon for a weekly business segment we're calling "The Bottom Line." Each Friday they look at business news and themes that affect local business and the public.

This week Dave and Mark talk with Claflin Company President & CEO Ted Almon, a veteran advisor on state health care policies, including the development of the state health insurance network. They discuss how Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange looks as we get closer to the deadlines laid out in the Affordable Care Act.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Health Benefits Exchange has a new name, a new logo and is looking to hire dozens of people. 

From here on out, Rhode Island’s Health Benefits Exchange will be known as HealthSource RI, and it’s looking to hire 50 to 75 people to sign folks up for health insurance, starting in October.

Rhode Islanders who buy health insurance individually or through a small employer now have an idea how much their monthly premiums will be in 2014. The state’s outgoing commissioner of health insurance approved rates lower than insurance companies requested, although just about everyone’s health insurance bill will be going up.

UPDATE: HHS unveiled a newly redesigned today, which lets users learn more about enrolling in health insurance plans through online insurance marketplaces beginning October 1st. I tried it out. The web site leads you through a series of questions and presents you with your likely options for coverage and whatever financial assistance might be available to help you pay for that coverage. It also creates a customized "checklist" to help you prepare for enrollment, which includes a list of documents you'll need to gather.