rite care

Rhode Island Kids Count found kids enrolled in the health insurance program for low-income children and families have better access to preventative health care. The new study on RIte Care comes on the program’s 20th anniversary.

Rhode Island's next governor - whether it's Republican Allan Fung or Democrat Gina Raimondo - will have plenty of challenges to tackle upon taking office. The state's ailing economy will most likely hold the spotlight over the next eight weeks until the general election. But perhaps I could put a few health care items on the agenda for their consideration - and for the general assembly's.

Since the beginning of this year, Rhode Island’s hospitals have seen a nearly 18 percent drop in the amount of charity care they must provide. Hospitals provide millions in uncompensated care to people who can’t pay or don’t have insurance. But the number of people without insurance has dwindled since the roll out of the Affordable Care Act. As a result, acting president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island Mike Souza says hospitals may be recouping as much as $40 million more dollars this year.

I'm combing through a Rhode Island Senate Fiscal Office summary of Governor Lincoln Chafee's FY 2015 budget proposal - a handy document that summarizes the item in question and analyzes its potential impacts. In health care, there's lots to digest.

But here are a few items that have caught my eye so far. And keep in mind, these are all still up for debate.

Aaron Read / RIPR

About 4500 parents who used to have health insurance through RIte Care, the state’s Medicaid program, will have to reapply for insurance if they want to remain covered after the end of the month. The biggest concern is that the poorest Rhode Islanders may not be able to afford it.

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.

Under new, tighter eligibility rules, thousands of parents of children with RIte Care health insurance are slated to lose their coverage at the end of this month. But they’re getting an extra month to pick a new plan.

You might be, if:

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.

Rhode Island Kids Count

Kids Count is out with its annual report on the health, education and safety of children in Rhode Island.

The report shows there are close to a quarter million children in the state. Nineteen percent live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.

The good news, says Kids Count director Elizabeth Burke Bryant, is that they’re healthier than they once were.

Kids Count is out with its annual report on the health, education and safety of children in Rhode Island.

The report shows there are close to a quarter million children in the state. Nineteen percent live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.

The good news, says Kids Count director Elizabeth Burke Bryant, is that they’re healthier than they once were.