UnitedHealthcare to launch small-business offerings in R.I.

UnitedHealthcare of New England will make its Multi-Choice health insurance plan available to Rhode Island businesses with up to 100 employees beginning June 1, the insurance carrier announced Wednesday. More

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UnitedHealthcare to launch small-business offerings in R.I.

UNITED HEALTHCARE OF New England will launch its Multi-Choice option for small-business owners in Rhode Island this June, a move that could up the competition for HealthSource RI's Small Business Health Options Program. Above, UnitedHealthcare President and CEO Stephen J. Farrell (center), who spoke about the carrier's plans for a private exchange at the Providence Business News health care summit in February.
Posted 5/28/14

(Updated, May 29, 7:55 a.m.)

PROVIDENCE – UnitedHealthcare of New England will make its Multi-Choice health insurance plan available to Rhode Island businesses with up to 100 employees beginning June 1, the insurance carrier announced Wednesday.

Multi-Choice allows small-business owners to select multiple plan options from among 18 different plan designs, each with different coverage levels, deductibles and premiums. Employers define their level of financial contribution and give employees the choice to pick a plan that best meets their individual health and financial needs.

With the program’s expansion into Rhode Island this summer, Multi-Choice will be available in 29 states nationwide.

“Many small businesses want to continue offering health benefits to their employees, and with UnitedHealthcare’s Multi-Choice exchange plan, they no longer need to feel limited in the benefit options they can offer to address their employees’ unique needs,” said Stephen J. Farrell, CEO of UnitedHealthcare of New England. “UnitedHealthcare will continue to develop plans to provide Rhode Island employers and their staffs with the broadest choices.”

The launch of Multi-Choice in Rhode Island follows Farrell’s announcement earlier this year that United planned to open a private health insurance marketplace, which could challenge state-run insurance exchanges such as HealthSource RI. Maria Gordon Shydlo, a spokeswoman for UnitedHealthcare, said Multi-Choice was the private exchange he referred to, and that United is “committed to providing small businesses with a strong portfolio of health plan options both on and off” the HealthSource exchange.

UnitedHealthcare currently offers plans through HealthSource RI’s Small Business Health Options Program marketplace.

Under Multi-Choice, employers can choose from plans that include options such as traditional benefit designs with various premium, deductible and coinsurance levels; consumer-driven designs paired with a health savings account; and health plans that add specialty benefits, including dental, life, disability and vision coverage.

Multi-Choice plan participants will have access to UnitedHealthcare’s wellness and disease management programs, 24/7 access to OptumHealth’s NurseLineSM, and a national network of more than 800,000 physicians and 6,000 hospitals, United said, including 13 hospitals and more than 3,800 physicians and care providers in Rhode Island.

For more information on Multi-Choice and other UnitedHealthcare benefit plans, visit www.uhc.com.

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