Affordable Care Act

Rhode Island’s online marketplace for health insurance is taking shape in preparation for October 1st. That's the date the exchange is scheduled to be up and running with a variety of new health plans to choose from.

Want a quick read on how we're feeling here in the Ocean State? Check the gauges on It's a new web site from the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, with collaboration from local hospitals and the RI Dept. of Health. The site taps a range of federal and local data sources (like the US census) calculate residents' health, as measured by a variety of indicators - 100 in all.

At a news conference today, President Barack Obama responded to critics of his health care law, the Affordable Care Act, saying his administration is working hard to meet deadlines and launch the law's next features. A nice recap is posted on Kaiser Health News.

A new report from consumer health care advocacy group Families USA crunched the numbers, state by state. They found that almost 83,000 Rhode Islanders will be eligible for something called the "premium tax credit" in 2014. Families USA, by the way, calls itself nonpartisan, although some say the organization is biased because of its clear support for the Affordable Care Act.

Rhode Island health insurers have filed their requests for increases in premium rates next year. Some small businesses and individuals could see some significant hikes.

Small businesses could see their plan rates drop as much as 20 percent or spike as much as 40 percent. But the average Blue Cross increase is expected to be about 15 percent. Tufts asked for about 13 percent.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

What do doctors need to learn in school to take the best care of you? Clearly, they need advanced medical and scientific knowledge. But should we expect doctors to know something about how our health care system works? How about the Affordable Care Act – one of the most important changes in health care policy in a generation? We continue our ongoing series Future Docs with some answers.

Dr. Anne Kuritzky is about five hours into her shift on the trauma unit at Rhode Island Hospital when the next call comes.

The federal government is pushing back the launch of an online health insurance marketplace for small businesses that’s part of the Affordable Care Act. But there will be no delay in Rhode Island.

You may have seen some headlines about a new report from the Society of Actuaries (the super-smart, nerdy folks who figure out how much risk, say, an insurance company can afford to take on), decrying the near-certain rise in the cost of health insurance for newly insured folks under the Affordable Care Act.

Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers will be able to charge smokers up to 50% more than non-smokers for health insurance. Fair or not, a Politico article points out how difficult that policy might be to enforce - and not simply because smokers could lie. For instance:

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is one of the biggest things to hit health care in decades. And you might already have started to feel its effects on your own health care - from no-cost preventative services to the ability to keep kids on your health insurance plan longer.

Rhode Island has selected Deloitte Consulting to build its online health insurance exchange. It’s the next step in the state’s effort to get the exchange up and running by October.

Interesting story from the American Medical Association’s news wire today about the growing number of medical students who are opting to pursue careers in family medicine. Students matched with family medicine residencies are up 14%this year from 2008, the writer reports (based on information from the national residency matching program).

The Ocean State has sent the federal government – ahead of schedule – what it’s calling a “blueprint” for the state’s health benefits exchange. The blueprint is a collection of draft documents, the exchange’s creators say, that reflect the state’s best thinking to-date on how the exchange should work. Its submission is a key milestone for states developing their own exchanges.

We’re checking in on our Future Docs Sarah and Peter, whom we’re following all year to learn more about becoming a doctor in today’s changing health care landscape. They’re half way through their second year of medical school now, and they’re already grappling with career decisions and the realities of a hospital’s sickest patients.

There have been lots of great stories in the last day or so about what President Obama’s reelection means for health care reform under the Affordable Care Act – otherwise known as Obamacare. A few of my favorites are linked below.