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By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – Monday is the deadline to file your federal and state income taxes; April 15 is also the deadline when the health insurers will file their plans and rates with R.I Health Insurance Commissioner Christopher F. Koller.
With the scheduled opening of Oct. 1 for the R.I. Health Benefits Exchange, soon to be renamed and re-branded in a communications effort set to launch later this spring, attention has been focused on what kinds of new health insurance products will be offered on the exchange. Whatever plans are offered on the exchange must also be available in the commercial market.
While the new plans and rates may technically be public information as of April 15, Koller told The Providence Business News that he expects to share information – along with OHIC’s analysis of those plans and rates – sometime in mid-May.
While no specific details have emerged from the three commercial health insurers – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, UnitedHealthcare of New England, and Tufts Health Plan – some hints have been shared.
Tufts Health Plan, for instance, will be focusing on creating plans that move small businesses to self-insurance, according to Tufts Health Plan President and CEO James Roosevelt, Jr. Tufts will also be looking to create a tiered, limited network plan to offer in Rhode Island, similar to the plan it has partnered with Steward Healh Care to offer in Massachusetts.
UniteHealthcare will be focused on new plans that feature customer engagement tools and population health management tools, such as its Choice Advanced plan, according to Stephen J. Farrell, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of New England.
Blue Cross expects to be offering a variety of products and plans, including SelectRI, a new network option, which will offer reductions in costs when employees visit a provider within the SelectRI network.
Premiums are expected to rise for health insurance plans.