HealthSource RI

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.

The Commonwealth Fund

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.

 

Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange is opening a temporary walk in center in Warwick today. Open enrollment on HealthSource RI ends this month.

A new analysis out from the US Health and Human Services agency estimates that about 17,000 uninsured Latinos in Rhode Island may qualify for assistance buying a health insurance plan on HealthSource RI or for Medicaid. That's out of RI's total Latino population of about 112,000. Both seem like sizeable numbers for a state of only about a million.

file / RIPR

Rhode Island’s online health insurance exchange has nearly doubled enrollment numbers since January. The news comes as the deadline for individuals to get covered is less than two weeks away.

More than 16,000 Rhode Islanders have enrolled in health insurance plans on HealthSource RI as of this past weekend. That’s up from 9800 at the beginning of January.  HealthSource RI says most enrollees have qualified for some kind of help paying for those plans – a reduced monthly premium and assistance with co-pays and deductibles.

Associated Press / University of Minnesota, State Health Access Data Assistance Center

A new analysis of some of the most recent census data for the Associated Press by the University of Minnesota's State Health Access Data Assistance Center finds that half the nation's uninsured people under age 65 live in just 116 of the nation's 3143 counties.

Providence County, RI is one of those, as you can see on this map here.

More than 15% of the county's 500,000 or so citizens are uninsured, according to the analysis.

Here's a sampling of headlines from the past two days about the latest Obamacare exchange enrollment numbers (thanks to Kaiser Health News for rounding these up):

Some of the lowest-income Rhode Islanders may be losing their health insurance coverage or paying a bit more for it by the end of this month.

Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange reports that more than 9800 Rhode Islanders have signed up for health coverage with private insurance plans to date. And while you might have missed the deadline to get covered as of January 1st, enrollment remains open through March 31st.

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 HealthSource RI Director Christine Ferguson. They take a look at the response of small businesses in the state to the new health insurance marketplace and separating Rhode Island’s health exchange from the problems at the federal level.

When to Listen

Flo Jonic / RIPR

A couple of deadlines tied to Obamacare are coming up. One of them for people signing up for coverage that starts January first … that deadline is the day before, December 31st.

If you have health insurance through your employer, great. And in Rhode Island, that's the vast majority. But if you don't, or if your insurance is being canceled, now's the time to make a decision about what you're going to do. Here are some reminders and a few helpful tips about deadlines and what's available.

Individuals and families

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 insurance broker James Raiola of Mass Mutal. They discuss the how the state’s health insurance exchange is offering plans for small businesses and what kind of company can benefit from using the exchange.

When to Listen

You can hear The Bottom Line each Friday at 5:50pm.

file / RIPR

A bit more than 2600 Rhode Islanders have signed up for health insurance coverage through HealthSource RI. That's a fraction of everyone who’s eligible-- 2%, to be exact, of the estimated 125,000 uninsured Rhode Islanders who could sign up for coverage on Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange.

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