Affordable Care Act

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Flo Jonic / RIPR

Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI, said several hundred small businesses have started applications for health plans through the site. And there’s more new data about who is enrolling in plans on the exchange.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island has opened its first retail location in Warwick, another sign of the shifting health insurance business landscape.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The head of Rhode Island's online insurance marketplace says she's encouraged by the amount of interest consumers have shown in signing up for health insurance on the state’s newly launched health exchange.

It’s been up and running since October 1st to help uninsured Rhode Islanders and small businesses get the health coverage most are required to have by January 2014.

Healthsource RI leader Christy Ferguson briefed state senators on how it’s working last night. She says the exchange could help drive down health care costs if plenty of small businesses sign up.

HealthSource RI – Rhode Island’s online health insurance marketplace – has attracted more than 30,000 visits since launching on October 1st.

Nearly 40,000 people have called the exchange’s call center. And more than 33,000 have visited the web site.

But just a few thousand have taken the extra step to create an account. And less than 800 have actually completed an application – meaning they’ve selected a health plan, had their identity verified, and either paid for the plan or will soon.

Most of the civilian defense workers who were furloughed last week in Rhode Island because of the partial government shutdown are back to work. 

U.S. Senator Jack Reed says the 300 workers furloughed by the Rhode Island National Guard have been brought back.  The same goes for the 800 civilian defense workers who were furloughed at Naval Station Newport. Naval Station spokeswoman Lisa Rama said workers are glad to be back, even though they’re still not getting paid.

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 healthsourceri.com. 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 HealthSourceRI.com, 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.

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