Rhode Island: @HealthSourceRI extends #COVID19 SEP out to August 15th; OEP enrollment down ~8% y/y

HealthSource RI becomes the latest state-based exchange to jump onboard the August 15th train...

Governor McKee and HealthSource RI Announce New Enrollment Period Extended Through August 15

  • Historic level of financial assistance is now available through HealthSource RI.
  • New Enrollment Period has been extended through August 15, 2021, adding three months to the previous May 15, 2021 deadline.
  • Starting April 1, most HSRI customers will have a lower monthly bill.
  • Beginning in summer 2021, HSRI will make more financial assistance available to people who previously did not qualify to receive it based on their income.
  • Individuals and families who have received unemployment payments in 2021 will be newly eligible for additional financial help for this year or may qualify for health coverage at no cost.
  • Rhode Islanders should enroll in coverage as soon as possible to take full advantage of these new benefits. 
  • The deadline to enroll is August 15, 2021.

EAST PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island, March 25, 2021 — HealthSource RI's New Enrollment Period has been extended through August 15, 2021, following President Biden’s decision to create another opportunity for Americans to sign up for health coverage. The extended deadline gives new and current customers a chance to receive new savings created by the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Eligible Rhode Islanders will receive increased tax credits to help reduce their monthly coverage costs through HealthSource RI, and most customers will qualify for this additional financial help. 
 
Most Rhode Island individuals and families who are enrolled in health coverage through HSRI for 2021 and 2022 will be eligible to receive additional financial help to lower their monthly coverage costs. HSRI is conducting outreach to current customers to provide this additional financial assistance. Due to the changes made by the ARP, for example, an eligible Rhode Island family of with $60,000 annual income could save $2,650 this year.  Additionally, starting this summer, an eligible Rhode Island family or individual who has received unemployment assistance in 2021 will be able to sign up for coverage and receive the maximum amount of financial support available. 
 
“Increasing access to affordable health coverage for Rhode Islanders and their families is more important than ever,” said Governor Dan McKee. “As our communities continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden’s American Rescue Plan provides an opportunity for our neighbors to receive the financial support they need to recover and prosper. I urge Rhode Islanders who need it to take advantage of this extended enrollment period.”
 
“HealthSource RI is thrilled by this historic investment in affordable high quality health coverage, which builds upon the great progress that we have made here in Rhode Island under the Affordable Care Act. With these changes, health coverage will be more affordable than ever. Now is the time to reach out to us and get covered,” said HealthSource RI Director Lindsay Lang. 
 
Currently, over 30,000 Rhode Island individuals and families are enrolled in affordable high-quality, low- or no-cost coverage through HSRI. In 2020, Rhode Island maintained one of the highest insured rates in the country, with 96% of residents covered, at a time when the national uninsured rate was 12.5%.

This is the closest HealthSource RI has come to releasing a formal 2021 Open Enrollment Period report. Last year they had 34,634 RI residents select QHPs via the exchange; a flat 30,000 during the 2021 OEP would be a 13.4% drop year over year (giving RI the 2nd highest y/y enrollment drop in the country after New York). However, this press release says that "over 30K" are "currently enrolled" which suggests that this may refer to effectuated enrollees. Since it's late March, it'd be entirely normal for effectuated enrollment to have dropped by 10% or more from the official QHP selection tally, even with COVID SEP enrollees cancelling some of that out.

Until I have a better source, however, I'll have to go with 30,000 QHPs for RI during 2021 OEP.

UPDATE: OK, it turns out HSRI's "2020 Open Enrollment Report" actually refers to the 2021 Open Enrollment Period. They apparently go by the year in which OEP starts, not the calendar year it's for

Anyway, according to their 2021 OEP report:

  • In 2020, Rhode Island maintained one of the highest insured rates in the country, with 96% of our residents being covered during a time when the national uninsured rate skyrocketed to 12.5%.
  • In the month of January 2021 alone, HealthSource RI customers qualified for more than $8 million in financial assistance to make their premiums more affordable.
  • HealthSource RI’s competitive marketplace offers the 4th lowest-cost benchmark plan in the nation.
  • HealthSource RI’s annual health coverage Open Enrollment period for individuals and families ran from
  • November 1, 2020 – January 23, 2021.
  • HealthSource RI is the only place to apply for financial help which may lower your monthly bill. In fact, 8 out of 10 HealthSource RI customers receive financial assistance.
  • HealthSource RI’s Individual and Family enrollments decreased this Open Enrollment, with 30,071 customers enrolled and paid compared to 32,704 last year.
  • HealthSource RI is currently offering a New Enrollment Period to all Rhode Islanders, available from Feb 15th through August 15th, 2021.

...Enrollments during this period were slightly lower compared to enrollments during the 2020 Open Enrollment. Customers enrolled in coverage decreased, from 32,704 in 2020 to 30,071 in 2021. This can be attributed to a variety of factors, including an economic downturn during the Coronavirus pandemic, an increase in unemployment and loss of income for Rhode Islanders. Additionally, the federal government’s Public Health Emergency declaration paused Medicaid terminations and recertifications, which allowed individuals to remain enrolled in Medicaid programs for longer than they otherwise would have been.

HSRI reports paid/effectuated enrollees, not QHP selections. Those are down about 8% year over year. I'm assuming that the ratio vs. QHP selections is proportionate; if so, that would mean roughly 31,800 QHP selections during the official 2021 OEP.

Since HSRI’s inception, Rhode Islanders have received more than $600 million in federal financial help to lower their monthly coverage costs. HSRI is the only place where Rhode Islanders can apply for financial help. In January 2021 alone, HSRI customers qualified for more than $8 million in financial assistance to help lower their monthly costs. These new changes at the federal level represent an additional $30 million dollars in annual financial help for HSRI customers.