Only 3.7% of Rhode Islanders lack health insurance
- According to the latest Rhode Island’s Health Information Survey, only 3.7% of Rhode Islanders were uninsured in 2018, down from 4.2% in 2016.
- HealthSource RI’s individual and family enrollments increased by 1,849. This Open Enrollment, 32,486 customers enrolled and paid compared to 30,637 last year.
- The amount of financial assistance brought into Rhode Island to make health coverage more affordable increased by nearly a million dollars, to $8.35 million in January 2019, compared to $7.5 million in January 2018.
- HealthSource RI’s competitive marketplace offers the 3rd lowest-cost benchmark plan nationwide in 2019.
- HealthSource RI overhauled its website to provide tools that were clear, mobile friendly, and available in both Spanish and English. Visits to the site’s Plan Comparison & Savings Tool doubled this year as more shoppers used it to quickly understand their coverage options.
- Governor Raimondo’s 2020 budget proposal includes initiatives to keep health insurance affordable and to protect Rhode Island’s nation leading coverage levels.
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (February 25, 2019) — The percentage of Rhode Island residents without health insurance has reached an all-time low. According to the state’s latest Health Information Survey (HIS), over 1 million Rhode Islanders have health insurance for the first time ever and only 3.7% (see Figure 1) were uninsured in 2018. Rhode Island’s uninsured rate has decreased by nearly two thirds since the Affordable Care
Act (ACA) was implemented and today it is among the lowest in the nation. The HIS was conducted by phone and completed during June through December of 2018. The margin of error is approximately +/- 0.7%.
Despite lagging enrollment rates in most of the country, HealthSource RI (HSRI) enrollments increased by nearly 2,000 customers in 2019. As of January 31, 2019, 32,486 customers had enrolled and paid for 2019 health coverage through HSRI. This is 1,849 more customer than the 30,637 enrolled at the same time last year (see Figure 2). HealthSource RI’s renewal rate also increased in 2019. Eighty percent of customers came back to purchase coverage, a 4% increase from the year before.
“The results are in: The Affordable Care Act is working in Rhode Island,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “More than 1 million Rhode Islanders have insurance for the first time ever, our uninsured rate is the lowest it’s ever been, and HealthSource RI offers some of the most affordable plans in the country. But the Trump Administration’s dangerous policies put our progress at risk. It’s critical that we protect the ACA and continue our work until every single Rhode Islander has quality, affordable health insurance.”
Governor Raimondo’s budget proposal contains initiatives to contain premium increases and stabilize Rhode Island’s markets. These initiatives include consumer protections against predatory ‘junk’ plans, a reinsurance program and a shared responsibility requirement penalty.
HealthSource RI has the third-lowest benchmark plan nationwide in 2019. The benchmark plan is the second-lowest cost Silver plan available and determines the amount of financial assistance or Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTC) customers receive.
Premium tax credits continued to protect a majority of HealthSource RI’s customers from rising health insurance rates. In January 2019, HealthSource RI customers qualified for more than $8.3 million in financial assistance to make their premiums more affordable, compared to $7.5 million in January 2018 and $5.2 million in January 2017. That’s an increase of nearly a million dollars from last year and an increase of three million dollars from 2017. Eighty-one percent of HealthSource RI customers received financial assistance in 2019.
While customers who receive financial assistance have largely been insulated from premium increases, middle class families and the smallest businesses don’t receive tax credits and as a result, have to pay for the full cost of premium increases. Since 2017, premiums for those who don’t receive financial assistance have increased by 26.4% (see Figure 3).
HealthSource RI Director, Zachary Sherman, says there is a lot to celebrate and even more to protect.
“I’m excited we were able to connect even more Rhode Islanders with quality health insurance and the financial assistance to pay for it,” said HealthSource RI Director Zachary W. Sherman. “It is clear that the improvements we made to the enrollment process paid off this year, a testament to the flexibility that comes with having local control of our operations. We have nearly achieved universal coverage in Rhode Island, which means we have far to fall if the policies coming out of DC are successful. The proposals put forth by Governor Raimondo will go a long way towards making sure that doesn’t happen.”
To mitigate customer confusion and ensure customers picked the best plan for them, HealthSource RI revised its Plan Comparison & Savings Tool, launched a redesigned, mobile friendly website, and released Spanish language versions of all of its online tools and materials. During the 2019 Open Enrollment period, HSRI saw 103,383 visits to the online savings tool, an increase of nearly 150% from 2018.
Although Open Enrollment for 2019 health coverage has ended, Special Enrollment Periods are available for individuals and families who go through life changes that affect their ability to get healthcare coverage. Those who experience a qualifying life event, such as moving to Rhode Island or losing employer-sponsored coverage, should contact HealthSource RI at 1-855-840-4774 or in-person at 401 Wampanoag Trail in East Providence. A full list of qualifying events and hours of operation can be found at healthsourceri.wpengine.com/sep.
Small employers who purchase coverage through HealthSource RI for Employers may enroll in health insurance coverage throughout the year at their regular renewal date.