This story is part of our series “Rising Tide,” about how – or whether - Rhode Islanders are emerging from the deepest economic recession since the 1930s. The question we’re asking is: does a rising tide really lift all boats, or are some Rhode Islanders still being left behind?
Today, we visit a diner in Warwick, where a group of women have joined forces to beat tough times.
HealthSource RI is out with its most recent enrollment data.
It looks like the state's online health insurance marketplace kept two-thirds (71%) of enrollees from last year and gained a quarter more (about 5,000 new enrollees). So with total enrollments for 2015 at 22,910, HealthSource RI didn't lose a bunch of customers but didn't gain a whole lot either.
Many small businesses will be renewing health insurance coverage for their employees beginning in September. And HealthSource RI head Christine Ferguson says she hopes small business owners will consider plans on the state’s health insurance exchange. They’ll find some new options this time around, she says.
“We are in the finalization of the plan design. And we have plans that cost less than they cost last year," said Ferguson. "And we have a wider range of options. We have more carriers in the market for individuals as well as on the employer side.”
How much will health insurance cost you next year? Well, you’ll find out soon. Health insurers have submitted their plans for next year, including how much they want to charge customers and what benefits those plans will include.
In Rhode Island, it’s the office of the health insurance commissioner that reviews those plans and decides whether to approve or reject them, or ask for some changes.
Small business owners are hoping the state’s health insurance commissioner will hold the line on the cost of health insurance for next year. The commissioner’s office is taking public comment on those proposed rates now. And at a public hearing last night, several small business owners testified about how rising insurance costs are eating into their bottom line. Bruce Dawson owns Central Tools in Pawtucket.