HealthSource RI customers will now have two insurance options

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — If you buy your health insurance through HealthSourceRI, you will have two choices going forward in 2017.

Next year, United Healthcare is leaving the state health exchange, meaning Neighborhood Health Plan and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RI will be the only two options for the 35,000 residents who get their insurance through the state organization.

One company is proposing a rate increase and the other is proposing a decrease – but both say their new rate proposals are based on what they’ve learned about consumers’ needs.

When Neighborhood Health Plan crunched the numbers for 2017, the health insurance provider came up with an average 5-percent rate reduction proposal for individual and family plans.

“There’s really a couple of goals with that rate reduction,” said NHPRI CEO Peter Marino. “One is to make sure it reflects a sustainable model for us to be able to provide the service going forward. Second, it’s to make sure it’s affordable for folks so that they really have access.”

According to its rate filing, Blue Cross Blue Shield is proposing a 9-percent rate hike for individual plans.

We’ve also learned Blue Cross Blue Shield is proposing an 8-percent rate increase for small employers – compared to Neighborhood’s 2.2-percent decrease for small employers through HealthSourceRI.

A spokesperson for Blue Cross and Blue Shield sent us the following statement, saying in part:

“…Our annual rate filing reflects historic trends in utilization, hospitalizations, pharmaceutical costs and the other aspects of care…

While nationally many insurers are either exiting the individual market or seeing double-digit rate increases, Blue Cross remains committed to making sure that people have access to affordable, quality health insurance…”

Call 12 For Action reached out to the office of the health insurance commissioner, which ultimately sets health insurance rates.

The public will be asked for input but details about public comment sessions haven’t been released yet.

Final decisions about the annual rates are typically made in July.

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