HealthSource RI says 27,968 enrolled in private plans, 56,531 in Medicaid so far
HEALTHSOURCE RI reported Tuesday that an estimated 27,968 people signed up for private plans through the state's health benefits exchange from Oct. 1 to March 31. Individuals and families have until April 23 to pay for coverage beginning May 1.
PROVIDENCE – On Monday, March 31, 1,840 Rhode Islanders signed up for health insurance through HealthSource RI in advance of the 11:59 p.m. deadline for open enrollment, bringing the preliminary private-plan enrollment total to 27,968. Through March 22, the most recent data available showed 56,531 people had signed up for Medicaid in the state.
HealthSource RI fielded more than 6,000 calls and 600 walk-ins on Monday at its contact centers in Providence and Warwick, according to exchange spokeswoman Dara Chadwick.
The exchange does not yet have information about how many of the 27,968 enrollees had paid their first premiums, Chadwick said. Individuals and families have until April 23 to pay for coverage beginning May 1.
Open enrollment will not resume again until the fall.
Separately, the R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services said 56,531 people had signed up for Medicaid through HealthSource RI between Oct. 1 and March 22.
Beryl Kenyon, a spokeswoman for EOHHS, said the agency could not yet provide a breakdown of Medicaid enrollment numbers that would show how many signing up were previously eligible for Medicaid and how many represented individuals newly eligible under the Affordable Care Act.
The health reform legislation, also known as Obamacare, expanded Medicaid coverage to include low-income adults without children, who were previously excluded. These adults represent the Medicaid “expansion population.”
The EOHHS had originally projected 51,000 Medicaid expansion population enrollments by March 2015, Kenyon said. Rhode Island’s progress toward this goal cannot be measured until the agency breaks down the data to compare expansion versus existing Medicaid enrollment.
HealthSource RI’s March 31 deadline applied only to individuals and families purchasing a private health insurance plan. Rhode Islanders eligible for Medicaid may enroll at any time during the calendar year, and small employers may enroll on their annual policy renewal date, no matter when during the year that falls.
In addition, Chadwick said, any person who tried to enroll before the March 31 deadline but could not complete the process due to technical problems or certain life events, such as a change in income or family size, may be eligible for a special enrollment provision and should call the HealthSource RI contact center at (855) 840-4774.
Under the Affordable Care Act, individuals who do not obtain health coverage in 2014 may be subject to federal penalties.