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By Liz Abbott
PROVIDENCE – An additional 951 Rhode Island completed applications for health insurance through HealthSource RI, the state’s health care exchange, during its third week of operation, bringing the total number of completed and processed applications to 2,652 since the exchange opened for business on Oct. 1.
On Tuesday of last week, the exchange lost its phone service due to a problem Verizon had in the Boston area, which affected a large number of customers in addition to HealthSource RI, according to Dara Chadwick, a spokesperson for the exchange. The exchange’s website functioned normally on Oct. 22, but HealthSource was unable to take calls or conduct live chats on its phone line from the time it opened at 8 a.m. until about 7 p.m., Chadwick said.
“We didn’t lose the whole day,” she said, noting the exchange is open until 9 p.m.
The goal of HealthSource RI is to enroll the 12 percent of Rhode Islanders, who don’t have health insurance – between 70,000 and 100,000 people - by the end of 2014. Chadwick said it isn’t clear yet whether the exchange is on track to meet that goal since people don’t formally enroll until they pay and they don’t have to pay until Dec. 15th. In the meantime, the exchange is reaching out to small businesses and young people , who are uninsured, she said.
“The small employer market is a big market for us,” she said.