RIPEC: HealthSource RI offers low premiums, high deductibles

Despite widely criticized technical problems that stymied the launch of the federally run health exchange website HealthCare.gov, Rhode Island’s public health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI, opened with minimal malfunctions, according to a Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council report released Tuesday. More

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RIPEC: HealthSource RI offers low premiums, high deductibles

COURTESY R.I. PUBLIC EXPENDITURE COUNCIL
ACCORDING TO A REPORT released Tuesday, Rhode Island's average premium rates in the individual/family marketplace are among the lowest in new England, but its deductibles are among the highest. The state's deductibles across Gold, Silver and Bronze exchange plans for both families and individuals came in at the highest or second-highest in the region.
Posted 11/26/13

PROVIDENCE – Despite widely criticized technical problems that stymied the launch of the federally run health exchange website HealthCare.gov, Rhode Island’s public health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI, opened with minimal malfunctions, according to a Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council report released Tuesday.

In the first month of the exchange, which opened on Oct. 1, 4,405 individuals enrolled through the online HealthSource RI portal, RIPEC reported, of which 3,213 registered for Medicaid programs and 1,192 registered for private insurance.

Regionally, Rhode Island’s average premium rates in the individual/family marketplace are among the lowest in New England, but its deductibles are among the highest, as illustrated by a side-by-side comparison in the RIPEC report.

The size of the deductibles for exchange-based plans comes despite Rhode Island’s decision to keep in place the Affordable Care Act-mandated limits on out-of-pocket consumer costs of $6,350 for individual plans and $12,700 for family plans, an aspect of the law that President Barack Obama had decided to delay implementing until Jan. 1, 2015.

Since only Vermont and Massachusetts offer Platinum plans, and only Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine offer Catastrophic plans, the RIPEC report only compared rates in the Gold, Silver and Bronze categories.

Rhode Island’s average Bronze Plan premiums for 21- ($171) and 40-year-olds ($218) are the lowest in the New England region, while the average rate for 60-year-olds ($463) is third-lowest, behind Massachusetts ($429) and Vermont ($348).

Silver Plan premium rates for 21- ($228) and 40-year-olds ($291) in the Ocean State are the second-lowest in the region, but the state’s rate for 60-year-olds ($618) is the third-highest, with only Connecticut ($780) and Maine ($749) posting higher rates.

The Rhode Island average Gold Plan premium rate for 60-year-olds ($739) is the second-highest in New England, just below Maine’s rate of $941. The 21- ($272) and 40-year-old ($348) rates come in at third-lowest, higher than the respective rates in Connecticut and New Hampshire.

Overall, Rhode Island’s premiums are most similar in price to exchanges in New Hampshire and Maine, both of which are federally operated, the RIPEC report stated.

Rhode Island’s deductibles across Gold, Silver and Bronze exchange plans for both families and individuals came in at the highest or second-highest in New England.

Average family deductibles for Bronze ($11,475) and Gold ($2,500) plans are the highest in the region, while the average Silver Plan family deductible ($5,800) are second-highest below Connecticut ($6,000). For individual plans, Rhode Island’s Bronze ($5,738), Silver ($2,900) and Gold ($1,250) deductibles all ranked second-highest.

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