Rhode Island health insurance tips

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Rhode Island insurance law and regulation

The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation Web site contains an online complaint form for consumers who have an unresolved problem with their insurance. The Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner offers additional resources including a listing of the state’s insurance regulations. The Web site has not yet developed resources to help individuals find commercial low cost health plans like mini-med or core coverage, specific illness policies, Supplemental Accident Insurance and basic health insurance.

The state insurance department can be reached by telephone at (401) 462-9500 or by mail at 1511 Pontiac Avenue, Cranston RI 02920. The state children’s health insurance plan (CHIP) Web site is Rhode Island Rite Care.

News that affects your health insurance and planning

 

 

The history of health care planning in Rhode Island (Information is outdated and links may be expired)

2/11/2014 Professional support for any health care reform issue is available free of charge through an arrangement with OnlineNavigator. All online inquiries are handled personally by Tony Novak, CPA. Online support is available through a number of popular social media channels including Facebook and Google+ as well as e-mail. Telephone support for insurance enrollment is available through Members Insurance Exchange at (800) 609-0683.

7/26/2013 Affordable Smart Term Life Insurance is now available to most Rhode Island residents from age 20 through 60 directly online with no physical exam, agent appointment or telephone verification. Most policies are issued on the same day with coverage amounts of $25,000 up to $350,000. The level premium life insurance is available for terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years. Sample rates for $150,000 coverage for a preferred risk male age 30, non-tobacco $30.85 per month; tobacco user $49.55 per month. A preferred risk female age 30 non-tobacco user would be $26.49 per month and a tobacco user would be $40.96 per month. Rates are higher for older applicants and lower health risks as described online. Pricing is based on input you provide about your medical history but, unlike most other life insurers, does not consider family medical history. Coverage is issued by innovative National Life Group, rated “A” by A.M. Best Company for 2013.

3/11/2013 This page was updated to include a link to the insurance plan that will be used to determine specific “essential health benefits” for insurance that qualified for 2014 federal tax purposes. Also, a link to additional covered benefits required by state law. Non-qualified insurance is likely to continue to be available at a lower cost that does not include these benefits nor qualify for federal tax purposes.

2/1/2012 The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a division of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)reported that as of June 30, 2011 Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and UnitedHealthcare are the state’s largest health insurance providers and as such, earn the right to set the benchmark for the development of the state’s essential benefit plans to debut in 2014 under health reform law.

10/17/2011 Public Law 2011-175 requires that health insurance contracts and plans issued or renewed in Rhode Island as of January 1, 2012, provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

12/16/2010 Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner officials met representatives of 44 other states and numerous employees of the federal Health and Human Services Department in Washington DC this week for a two-day working meeting to discuss the next steps in establish a government-run health insurance exchange under the American Health Benefit Exchange Model Act. Their attendance at this meeting was paid for by a $1 million federal grant awarded by HHS in September to the state for research how to set up an insurance exchange. Two states (Alaska and Minnesota) declined to participate, saying that it was a waste of taxpayer money. Four other states (not identified in press reports) that received federal grants did not send representatives to the meeting. Attendees included representatives of 16 states that are suing the federal government in an attempt to overturn the federal health reform law; specifically the requirement that forces individuals to buy health insurance on the insurance exchange or pay a hefty tax fine.

In its initial federal grant request for the insurance exchange project, Rhode Island said that it would: 1) Create an Interagency Task Force to assure activities supported by grant are appropriately coordinated. 2) Compare cost and benefit of State run Exchange versus federally run Exchange, 3) Create an operations plan which provides staffing plan, 4) Coordinate eligibility and enrollment with Medicaid, 5) Develop a product design and contracting plan, 6) Create a data and evaluation plan, and 7) Put in place information system requirements support.

The meeting reportedly did not address the role of the commercial health insurance exchanges on the implementation of new competing government systems. The model act does not address inter-state insurance exchange proposals nor insurance sales across state lines. Federal officials admitted that they may not be able to provide further guidance until 2012. Meanwhile, most states are motivated to continue to meet requirements to obtain additional funding promised by the federal government for the establishment of insurance exchange by 2014. Freedom Benefits has previously voiced the opinion that the huge amount of money being spent to set up alternate insurance sales system technologies could be better used providing health benefits to the public. We proposed on the Universal Health Insurance blog that adequate commercial insurance sales systems are already in place that could be modified in a public/private partnership to make health insurance more affordable.

5/14/2010 Diabetes Coverage: A new resource to help find health insurance for diabetics in Rhode Island is now available at Freedom Benefits.