Rhode Island Health Insurance
Rhode Island might be a small state, but the Affordable Care Act is bringing some large changes to the way many residents access health insurance. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report of Rhode Island, in 2011, Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the order to establish a state marketplace. Rhode Island is one of 26 states plus Washington, D.C., to expand Medicaid in 2014.
This means residents should visit HealthSourceRI.com to register and apply for coverage during open enrollment. After completing the application, people can browse marketplace plans and tax credits that help offset insurance premiums. Residents can also find out if they qualify for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP. People can apply for coverage online, but they’ll need to make premium payments directly to the insurance company. Local health insurance navigators are on hand to help.
Who qualifies for help with Rhode Island health insurance?
Because Rhode Island decided to expand Medicaid, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported in January 2014 that about two-thirds of the formerly uninsured state residents now qualify for some federal financial assistance. Your qualification for tax subsidies, Medicaid and CHIP is mostly based on income and family size. If you have access to other affordable medical insurance, you may not qualify for assistance even if you meet the income requirements.
Tax subsidies: The ACA provides subsidies for people who earn between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level and do not have access to other affordable medical plans. The income requirements are between $23,550 and $94,200 for a family of four and between $11,490 and $45,960 for an individual for 2014. Generally, subsidies will be based on 2013 poverty level limits, and Medicare and CHIP qualification will be based on 2014 limits.
Medicaid:Rhode Island adults who earn less than 138 percent of the poverty level, or about $32,915 for a family of four in 2014, may qualify for Medicaid.
CHIP:Children from Rhode Island families with income less than 266 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $63,440 for a family of four in 2014, might qualify for Medicaid or CHIP.
Of course, some people in Rhode Island may decide to sign up for marketplace plans even if they do not qualify for any assistance. Qualified plans must offer certain basic benefits, and insurers are not allowed to decline your application based on your pre-existing health conditions.
Marketplace health insurance companies in Rhode Island
These insurers offer private or public health insurance plans for Rhode Island residents:
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island
- Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island
Rhode Island health and coverage statistics
Rhode Island population (2013): 1,051,511
Population 65 and older (2012): 15.1 percent
Life expectancy (2010): 79.9 years
Number of Medicaid beneficiaries (2012): 171,100
Number of Medicare beneficiaries (2012): 163,100
Estimated number of uninsured residents (2012): 126,300
Overall state health ranking: 19
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Health Rankings 2014 report.
Rhode Island health insurance resources
HealthSource Rhode Island:http://www.healthsourceri.com/
Rhode Island Department of Health: http://www.health.ri.gov/
Rhode Island Department of Human Services (Medicaid, CHIP): http://www.dhs.ri.gov/
Rhode Island Division of Elderly Affairs: http://www.dea.ri.gov/
Kaiser Family Foundation: http://kff.org/tag/rhode-island/