Rhode Island ranks high in terms of health ratings in the United States. It also has seen a significant decrease in its uninsured population over the past several years. And much thanks to the government, majority of the people living here have access to affordable medical and health care services.

For 2017 though, you can expect some changes in its health insurance sector to take place, starting with your carrier options. You can also expect a rate increase, followed by a hike in your premiums. The good news, these updates are far less drastic from what individuals in many other areas of the country face.

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Health ratings: Better than 46 others

RI doesn’t just have a laudable uninsured rating; it also has an exceptional health rating, besting 46 of the 50 other states and the District of Columbia in the 2015 Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance. Ranked 5th highest, it received the highest possible score (quintile of 1) for four indicators, including Access, Prevention & Treatment, Healthy Lives, and Equity. It also performed above average in the Avoidable Hospital Use & Costs category, garnering a final score of 2. Below is a list of some of the study’s notable findings under “Healthy Lives.”

  • Mortality amenable to healthcare: 68 out of 100,000 people

  • Breast cancer fatalities: 19.4 out of 100,000 women

  • Colorectal cancer fatalities: 13.2 out of 100,000 people

  • Percentage of adult smokers: 16%

  • Adult obesity: 27%

  • Obesity in children aged 10-17: 28%

For the “Access” scorecard, here are a few statistical comparisons:

  • 10% of adults (19 to 64 years old) don’t have insurance, compared with the national average of 15%

  • 3% of children (infants to 18 years old) are uninsured, as opposed to the countrywide average of 6%

  • 12% of the adult population chose not to obtain insurance due to the high costs associated with it, in comparison with the 16% average in the U. S.

  • 13% of adults had expensive out-of-pocket medical bills, 4% fewer than the 16% national average

Uninsured rating: Below 6%

The Ocean State boasts of having one of the lowest uninsured rating in the country. It has much to do with the state embracing the Affordable Care Act, seeing that a huge percentage of the reduction occurred after the implementation of the healthcare reform law. All in all, it places 9th on Gallup’s list of states with the biggest drops in uninsured rating from 2013 to 2015.

Another report, this one from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, backs this up. The study, which covered years 2010 thru 2015, found that within this time frame, RI had a 6.5% reduction in the number of people without coverage, dropping to 5.7% from 12.2%. This means that from its estimated population of 1,056,298 (2015, latest data1), 68,000 gained access to insurance.

Approved rates this year

Much thanks to the impressively low uninsured rating of Rhode Island, coupled with its high health ratings, citizens belonging in the individual market will see only a slight increase in their insurance rates, averaging at 1.3%. As for those who obtained coverage from HealthSource RI, the change depends. Some may see an average hike of 9%, while some may notice the exact opposite: a 9% decrease.

Base rates for 2017

Again, your individual premiums will still vary based on personal factors and the insurer you’ll work with, aside from the above-mentioned changes implemented this year.

To help you have a clearer picture of what you can expect as your premiums though, take a look at the compilation below of approved group-based rates, taken from the State of Rhode Island Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner-issued report.

  • Individual Market Approved Base Rate Average: $331.53

  • Small Group Market Approved Base Rate Average: $382.41

More people with insurance means improved health and better lives

Health insurance plays a huge role in making the health of individuals a lot better, ultimately resulting in higher quality of life. And while Rhode Island already shows stellar performance, health wise, it can still do better. This way, it can further minimize the number of its residents going without insurance, which will also help control excessive rate hikes, or better yet, stabilize it.

References:

https://www.healthinsurance.org/rhode-island/

http://datacenter.commonwealthfund.org/scorecard/state/41/rhode-island/

http://www.gallup.com/poll/189023/arkansas-kentucky-set-pace-reducing-uninsured-rate.aspx?

https://aspe.hhs.gov/compilation-state-data-affordable-care-act

http://www.ohic.ri.gov/documents/2017-Final-Rate-Review-All-Market-Requested-and-Approved-Summary-08112016.pdf

 

1Latest data: The U.S. census is conducted every 10 years as per requirement of the United States Constitution. The 23rd edition and the latest data is the 2010 United States Census. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_United_States_Census
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