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By Kaylen Auer
PBN Web Editor
By Kaylen Auer
PBN Web Editor
(Updated, 2:45 p.m.)
PROVIDENCE – A total of 64,590 people enrolled for Medicaid through HealthSource RI as of March 31, of which 42,320, or 65.5 percent, represent the Medicaid “expansion population,” or individuals newly eligible for Medicaid 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 became eligible for Medicaid as of Jan. 1, 2014, and constitute the Medicaid expansion population.
The EOHHS had originally projected 51,000 Medicaid expansion population enrollments by July 2015, according to Beryl Kenyon, a spokeswoman for the R.I. Executive Office of Health and Human Services, which reported the Medicaid enrollment numbers. As of March 31, Rhode Island has already reached 83 percent of that goal.
The remaining 22,270 Medicaid enrollees, or roughly one-third of the 64,590 total, represent those enrolling who were eligible for Medicaid under previously existing rules. Kenyon said the EOHHS does not have the capacity to determine how many non-extension enrollees were previously eligible but signed up this year for the first time.
According to Kenyon, the new eligibility group is authorized under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion and will be financed fully with federal funding for its first three years, through 2017, with federal support declining to 90 percent by 2020.
HealthSource RI on Thursday also reported revised totals for private-plan enrollment. A total of 27,961 people signed up for health insurance through the state exchange during the enrollment period between Oct. 1 and March 31.
The final tally was roughly equivalent to the 27,968 preliminary total HealthSource RI spokeswoman Dara Chadwick provided on April 1, the day after open enrollment ended. Of the 27,961 actual enrollees, 21,097, or 75 percent, have already paid their first premiums, HealthSource RI said.
Individuals and families that have not yet paid have until April 23 to pay for coverage beginning May 1, and HealthSource RI expects to issue a final report on the first open enrollment period in early May. Open enrollment for private plans will not resume again until the fall, but 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 regardless of where that date falls during the year.
HealthSource RI Executive Director Christine Ferguson said in a statement accompanying the latest data that the exchange is pleased with the enrollment figures, which reaffirm HealthSource RI as “one of the nation’s top exchanges,” and said she expects enrollment numbers to rise as eligible Rhode Islanders take advantage of special enrollment extensions.
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 contact HealthSource RI.
Of the 1,319 small employers that have initiated applications since small-business enrollment began in mid-November, 175 – or roughly 13 percent – completed enrollment. Those 175 employers represent 1,110 covered individuals, HealthSource RI said, numbers that are not included in the individual plan enrollment total of 27,961.
Since October, HealthSource RI fielded 269,819 calls and 26,045 walk-in visits at its contact centers in Providence and Warwick. The HealthSource RI website logged 560,083 unique site visits.
HealthSource RI enrollment breakdown by age:
HealthSource RI enrollment breakdown by gender:
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HealthSource RI enrollment breakdown by financial assistance received:
HealthSource RI enrollment breakdown by carrier selected: