It's turned into an annual tradition: The official annual ACA Open Enrollment Period (OEP) runs from November 1st - December 15th, but most of the state-based ACA exchanges have later deadlines. hThen, right around the 12/15 point, it begins: One by one, some of the state-based exchanges announce further extensions of their deadlines to #GetCovered for the upcoming year.
In some cases they simply bump out the deadline for coverage starting in January, with the final "hard" deadline for February or March coverage staying where it is. In other cases they were never allowing Open Enrollment start dates past January to begin with, so it's the hard deadline which is being extended.
In any event, here's this year's batch of announcements; note that this list could grow longer over the next week or two:
A month later, the RI DOI issued their approved 2021 rate decisions, and made some small tweaks to each. In fact, it looks like there was at least one revision in between, as the new press release lists slightly different numbers for the "preliminary" requests.
In any event, Rhode Island indy & sm. group enrollees will be looking at roughly 4.2% increases on the individual market and 2.6% increases for small group plans:
2021 Requested Commercial Health Insurance Rates Have Been Submitted to OHIC for Review
CRANSTON, R.I. (July 21st, 2020) – The Office of Health Insurance Commissioner (OHIC) today released the individual, small, and large group market premium rates requested by Rhode Island’s insurers. The requests were filed as part of OHIC’s 2020 rate review and approval process (for rates effective in 2021). Tables 1 – 3, below, summarize the insurers’ requests for 2021, and provide the requested and approved rate changes for the previous two years. Two insurers, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) and Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island (NHPRI) filed plans to be sold on the individual market for persons who do not receive insurance through their employer. In addition to BCBSRI and NHPRI, UnitedHealthcare and Tufts Health Plan filed small group market plans. Five insurers (BCBSRI, UnitedHealthcare, Tufts Health Plan, Aetna, and Cigna) filed large group rates.
Health Coverage Special Enrollment Period (SEP) Extended through April 30, 2020
Special Enrollment Period has been extended through April 30th, 2020
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (April 13, 2020) — HealthSource RI has extended the limited-time Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that was established following Governor Raimondo’s State of Emergency declaration in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This SEP provides an opportunity for uninsured Rhode Islanders to purchase coverage through April 30, 2020. Coverage will begin on the first of the month following the application.
Rhode Islanders who wish to obtain coverage can do so by visiting HealthSourceRI.com and enrolling online, or by contacting the HealthSource RI call center Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm at 1-855-840-4774. When completing the online enrollment form, Rhode Islanders should select the “other” SEP event and indicate COVID-19 or coronavirus as the explanation. Once approved, customers will need to choose a plan and pay for their first month of coverage.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP) Available to Purchase Coverage through HealthSource RI as a Part of the State’s Response to COVID-19
Special Enrollment Period will be available through April 15, 2020
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (March 14, 2020) — HealthSource RI has adopted a limited-time Special Enrollment Period (SEP), following Governor Raimondo’s State of Emergency declaration in response to the potential growth of Coronavirus (COVID-19). This SEP will allow uninsured Rhode Islanders to purchase coverage through April 15, 2020. Coverage will begin on the first of the month following the application.
Press Release: HealthSource RI sees another successful Open Enrollment with lower plan rates for 2020
State’s critical market stability initiatives drive decrease in cost for those without financial help
Rhode Island is already seeing the effects of market stability initiatives proposed by Governor Raimondo and enacted by the General Assembly in 2019.
HealthSource RI’s competitive marketplace offered the 2nd lowest-cost benchmark plan nationwide for 2020.
The average monthly cost of a health insurance plan without financial help went down from $441.91 in 2019 to $435.60 in 2020.
HealthSource RI’s individual and family enrollments increased this Open Enrollment, with 32,704 customers enrolled and paid compared to 32,486 last year.
The marketplace saw over 7,000 new enrollees including strong enrollment from the key “young adult” demographic. Nearly 43% of new 2020 customers were “young invincibles” age 18-34, up from 29% percent in HealthSource RI’s renewing population.
HealthSource RI customers took advantage of new customer service tools, including a new webchat service and a search tool that lists which prescription medications are covered by each health insurance plan.
The clock is ticking on picking the best health insurance plan for 2020. High quality and affordable health coverage is available through HealthSource RI, and Rhode Islanders have until December 23rd to purchase coverage that starts on January 1st.
Getting health insurance is even more important this year because coverage is now required in the state of Rhode Island. As of January 1st, residents who don’t have health insurance will pay a tax penalty when filing for the prior year.
AGAIN: The federal shared responsibility requirement (aka the individual mandate penalty) may have been zeroed out by Congressional Republicans, but in addition to the District of Columbia, four states (Massachusetts, New Jersey, California and Rhode Island) have reinstated it at the state level.
Need health insurance in 2020? Now’s the time to pick or renew your plan
HealthSource RI announces 2020 Open Enrollment period Nov. 1st – Dec 31st
EAST PROVIDENCE, RI (October 31, 2019) HealthSource RI, the state health insurance exchange, helps connect Rhode Islanders to a wide range of high quality, affordable health coverage options. Residents are encouraged to select and pay for a plan through HealthSource RI by December 23rd for coverage beginning January 1, 2020. The last possible day to enroll and pay for a plan is December 31st, but customers may experience a delay in receiving ID cards if they enroll after December 23rd.
“HealthSource RI helps keep health care costs low while ensuring that Rhode Islanders have access to high-quality care,” said Governor Raimondo. “I urge Rhode Islanders to take time to explore HealthSource RI’s many coverage options this open enrollment.”
*(Yes, I know, the District of Columbia isn't actually a state, and Vermont's mandate is...well, read on...)
As the 2020 Open Enrollment Period rapidly approaches (it starts November 1st nationwide...except for California, where open enrollment is starting on October 15th), it's time to start getting the word out about some important things to keep in mind this fall.
One of the most critical things to remember for residents of California, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont is that each of these states* has reinstated an individual healthcare coverage mandate law/ordinance to replace the federal ACA mandate penalty which was zeroed out by Congressional Republicans back in December 2017. This means that if you live one one of them, unless you receive an affordability, hardship or other type of acceptable exemption, you'll be charged a financial penalty when you file your state/district taxes for 2020 in spring 2021 if you don't have qualifying healthcare coverage.
With my big MLR Rebate project finally out of the way, I have a backlog of other write-ups, including several approved 2020 premium rate changes. First up is tiny Rhode Island.
As you may recall, back in July the Rhode Island insurance commissioner announced that the state was following New Jersey's model: They're reinstating the individual mandate penalty, and using the revenue from that to help fund their just-approved state reinsurance program to reduce unsubsidized premiums by 5-6 percentage points:
If approved, Rhode Island would have a $14.7 million reinsurance program for 2020 funded through the individual mandate penalty and federal pass-through funding. Rhode Island estimates a federal pass-through rate of 43 percent. Of the $14.7 million, the federal government would contribute less than half of the funds (about $6.4 million), and the state would contribute about $8.3 million.
But that's not all! In addition to the actual 2018 MLR rebates, I've gone one step further and have taken an early crack at trying to figure out what 2019 MLR rebates might end up looking like next year (for the Individual Market only). In order to do this, I had to make several very large assumptions:
Governor Raimondo’s proposed FY 2020 budget called for the creation of the Health Insurance Market Integrity Fund, which would make available reinsurance payments to health plans to reduce the burden of high cost claims on individual market premiums. According to insurer filings, the enactment of the Health Insurance Market Integrity Fund would reduce the individual market premium requests from 6.6% to -0.4% for BCBSRI and from 5.4% to 1.7% for NHPRI. These insurers’ pricing assumptions are subject to review and verification by OHIC. Table 1 shows the requested individual market rate increases with and without reinsurance.
I wasn't expecting my analysis of Rhode Island's 2020 ACA premium changes to be of any particular interest; it's a small state with only two carriers offering individual market policies, after all, so there's not usually much to it.
PROVIDENCE — The state Senate approved legislation Thursday intended to protect Rhode Islanders’ access to health insurance in the face of threats to the federal Affordable Care Act.
The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Joshua Miller, D-Cranston, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The House version of the bill was sponsored by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara, D-Warwick, chairman of the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee. The bill aims to ensure that the standards of the Affordable Care Act remain in effect in Rhode Island, even if the courts or Congress were to eliminate the federal laws that created it.
HealthSource RI enrollments up by nearly 2,000 customers as RI’s uninsured rate reaches all-time low
Feb 25, 2019
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 "...and paid" caveat is important. Last month HealthSource RI reported 34,533 QHP selections after the 2019 OEP wrapped up, so that's an impressive 94% paid/effectuated rate. For comparison, last year 30,637 paid out of 33,021, or 92.8%, so they've improved on that front as well.