HealthSource RI Director: We anticipated long lines, wait times

Line at Providence DHS office

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — State officials anticipated long lines and wait times at DHS offices on Tuesday.

The first day of open enrollment for HealthSource RI lining up with the date that monthly benefits were due slowed things down even further for the already troubled United Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP).

HealthSource RI Director Zachary Sherman said there was no surprises though. “We anticipated there would be higher than normal call volumes and walk-ins, and we’ve experienced that thus far but we were anticipating that.”

Governor Raimondo echoed Sherman. “It’s the first of the month so we thought there would be long lines, there are very long lines. I’ve been in touch with my team, and as I’ve said from the beginning, we just have to stay on this and get it right because people deserve that.”

Erica Mello from Providence felt that firsthand. “We’ve been here for over three hours,” she said.

Tammy Maisonet of Johnston is also frustrated because her monthly SSI supplemental payment was delayed. She is one of 29,000 Rhode Islanders that was forced to wait in October.

According to Maisonet, on November 1, it happened again.

Officials stated that they know of less than 500 clients who are either seeing a pending transaction instead of a deposit or have not received their state supplement.

Maisonet said she was told by the DHS when she finally got her October payment that “they finally figured it out what it was and it wasn’t going to happen again.”

Maisonet and her daughter depend on that money.

Despite her daughter qualifying for Medicaid, she is no longer in the system, Maisonet also said. “I can’t even tell you how frustrated I am. I’ve gone from crying, I’ve been crying for two days, no one can help me.”

Pending applications grew from 9,330 to 9,588 on Monday, according to the state.

Officials expect the busiest enrollment period will be in December.