HSRI open enrollment starts Nov. 1, sign-ups expected to remain steady

PROVIDENCE — HealthSource RI, the state’s health insurance exchange, begins its open enrollment period for the 2019 plan year Nov. 1, ending Dec. 23, anticipating they’ll maintain last year’s membership with nearly half paying less than $100 per month.

About 45 percent of HealthSource RI enrollees will make monthly payments in that range, said Kyrie Perry, chief public affairs officer for HealthSource RI.

“That’s up about 20 percent since 2017,” Perry said. She said the office expects enrollment to remain steady this year. In January 2018, the number of health insurance enrollees through the exchange climbed to 33,021, 10.5 percent higher than the previous year.

“HealthSource RI has the cheapest health insurance in Rhode Island, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done to keep costs as low as possible,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo, who urged Rhode Islanders to shop HealthSource RI’s options.

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Some of that success is the counter-intuitive result of the Trump Administration’s 2017 cancellation of federal cost saving reduction payments to health insurance providers. In response, Health Insurance Commissioner Marie L. Ganim instructed state providers to raise premiums on silver plans to reflect the cost without the CSRs.

By law, individuals and families that earn between 138 percent and 250 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for tax credits to offset the increased premium costs, thus keeping the consumer cost similar to what had been in place with the CSRs.

“This Open Enrollment our aim is to expand access to health coverage to those who do not have it by allowing Rhode Islanders to enroll how they want, when they want and where they want,” said HealthSource RI Director Zachary W. Sherman. “We also want to remind folks that health insurance costs more without us. Not only do eight out of ten customers receive financial help to pay for their health insurance, nearly half of our customers pay less than $100 dollars a month for high-quality coverage.”

HealthSource RI serves more than 30,000 individuals and families. Between January and September of 2018, Rhode Islanders received more than $72 million dollars in tax credits to lower their monthly health insurance bills through HealthSource RI. The average subsidized customer receives about $300 dollars to make coverage more affordable and pays roughly $118 dollars each month after tax credits, according to the agency.

When ready to enroll, Rhode Islanders can sign up online at HealthSourceRI.com, over the phone at 1-855-840-HSRI, in-person at the HealthSource RI Walk-In Center at 401 Wampanoag Trail, East Providence, or one-on-one in their community by calling 211 to find help nearby.

HealthSource RI is also holding Enrollment Fairs on Nov. 13 and Dec. 11 at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick and other enrollment events in communities across Rhode Island. The full schedule is available on HealthSourceRI.com/events.

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowski@PBN.com.