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Obamacare Marketplace Profile: Rhode Island’s Health Insurance Exchange

Obamacare Marketplace Profile: Rhode Island’s Health Insurance Exchange

Posted Nov 27, 2013 by Jenifer Dorsey

Exchange name: HealthSource RI
                                                                                                
Website: healthsoureceri.com 
 
State-based or federally run: HealthSource RI is among the 17 declared state-based health insurance exchanges, which include Washington, D.C. Two states that initially opted for state-based exchanges, Idaho and New Mexico, are temporarily partnering with the federal exchange.

Plans: Rhode Islanders have access to an array of health plans for individuals and families, as well as small business and nonprofit organization employees whose employers participate in the exchange.
 
After selecting which coverage type applies to them, visitors to healthsourceri.com are taken to HealthSource RI’s Insurance Selector Tool where they fill in a few personal details to locate plans available to them.
 
There are currently 12 individual major medical plans from two providers—Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island—available to Rhode Island individuals and families. They include one catastrophic plan designed for individuals under 30 and plans in the following metal levels: four gold plans, four silver plans, three bronze plans and one catastrophic plan. Dental plans from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island are available for adults and children. Vision coverage is available to children only.
 
Small employer plans in Rhode Island include 16 plans from three carriers—Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island and UnitedHealthcare. Small employer plans fall into all four metal levels—three platinum plans, six gold plans, five silver plans and two bronze plans. Dental plans from Delta Dental and Guardian are also available.
 
All major medical insurance plans sold on and off the Obamacare health insurance exchanges must include preventive care as well as services within the 10 essential health benefits categories to meet the law’s minimum essential coverage requirement.
 
Rates: Rhode Island residents must visit healthsourceri.com, locate their situation under find insurance and then click on the link to “Get Started with our Insurance Selector Tool,” to begin searching for plans and premium rate information specific to them.
 
Rates are based on factors such as geographic location and applicant age. In 2014 and beyond, Obamacare mandates that insurers cannot deny coverage or charge more due to health history or preexisting conditions. These provisions apply whether plans are purchased via the marketplace or not.
 
The healthedeals.com Health Care Reform Calculator, which was listed among The Financial Times “Best Online Tools for the Toughest Health Questions,” can help those planning to buy from an exchange estimate their Obamacare health insurance cost and tax credit.
 
All Americans can enroll in exchange-based coverage whether or not they qualify for tax and cost-sharing subsidies. It is important to note that only coverage purchased through an exchange is eligible for subsidies.
 
In the news: In its first month, HealthSource RI completed and processed 4,405 applicants, according to data from HealthSource RI and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Enrollments from Oct. 1 through Nov. 2 included 1,192 HealthSource RI enrollments and 3,213 Medicaid enrollments.
 
Consumer assistance: Healthsourceri.com includes lots of basic insurance information, including a glossary of terms, for its users. Additional help is available in the form of a chat function located in a bar marked with a green dot on the right side of the page, an electronic contact form and by phone at 855-840-HSRI (4774). Visit healthyrhode.ri.gov to access more customer support contact information and find a Navigator or broker.
 
Additional coverage options: Supplemental coverage such as critical illness insurance or a bundled gap plan that includes accident medical expense insurance and accident disability income insurance can help create more comprehensive benefits for you and your family. These plans often pay lump-sum cash benefits that provide additional financial assistance when a qualifying event occurs.
 
Supplemental insurance is not available through state-based or federally operated health insurance exchanges and does not qualify for Obamacare premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies. However, they are easy to obtain directly from the plan’s carrier or a licensed agent or broker. These types of plans come in several designs to fit your individual household budget and needs.
 
Need coverage now? A short-term medical insurance plan can be an affordable option for those who need coverage until their new Obamacare plan kicks in. Temporary insurance plans last as few as 30 days. It takes minutes to apply, and coverage begins as soon as the following day.
 
Start shopping on healthedeals.com or contact a healthedeals.com sales consultant at 866-745-6630 for more information on short-term health insurance and supplemental plans.

Jenifer Dorsey is a freelance writer whose specialties include health and fitness, wellness, sports and recreation. She is a competitive amateur track cyclist who also enjoys mountain biking, hiking, camping and other outdoor adventure. Jenifer received a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and is an MFA candidate at Naropa University. She lives in Colorado.