Today is the last day on the job for Rhode Island’s –and the nation’s—first commissioner of health insurance. Chris Koller is leaving the position to take the helm of a foundation in New York City. He leaves behind some significant changes in the health insurance marketplace.
It’s unclear how exactly Wednesday's U.S. Supreme Court decision on DOMA will affect health care coverage for same-sex spouses. But Rhode Island’s largest health insurer has already been extending such benefits.
As an employer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island has been offering health coverage to its employees’ same-sex spouses since 2010, said Blue Cross compliance officer Martha Holt Castle.
UPDATE: HHS unveiled a newly redesigned healthcare.gov 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.
For the first time, Rhode Island’s insurance commissioner has directed health insurers to disclose what they pay for health care services. But that information won’t necessarily be directly available to patients.
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.
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.
Rhode Island is beginning a public effort to develop a statewide plan to improve the way we pay for health care. Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts is leading the effort.
With a $1.6 million dollar grant from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Roberts launched the six-month planning initiative. A series of public meetings will gather input from experts and community members. Roberts says she wants a plan to help health care providers and insurers move away from payments for a particular treatment or service toward paying for improved health.