What you need to know about open enrollment

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CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – Open enrollment is quickly approaching for customers who are renewing an existing health insurance plan or choosing a new one through Rhode Island’s health exchange, HealthSource RI.

“Despite the national rhetoric, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, is still the law of the land,” said Zachary Sherman, director of HealthSource RI. “You are still required unless you are exempt for a couple reasons to enroll in coverage, and you will be subject to a penalty on your tax return if you do not enroll in coverage.”

Less time to enroll

But this year, your window to choose a plan is shorter. Across much of the country, open enrollment for 2018 plans is November 1, 2017 through December 15, 2017.  In Rhode Island, it’s Nov. 1 – Dec.31.

“The truth of the matter is we’re going to be doing three months of business in two months,” Sherman said.

So HealthSource RI is adding to its customer service unit.

“We have more people on the phones than we’ve had in the past,” Sherman said. “We’ve also introduced for the first time, the ability for people to have appointments at our walk-in center.”

Prices may go up

Last week, President Donald Trump announced plans to end health care cost sharing subsidies.

“These are benefits that go to our customers that make deductibles and co-payments on silver plans cheaper,” Sherman explained. “About 17,000 of our customers receive these cost sharing subsidies. Not just for that subset, but for the entirety of our existing 30,000 customers, we expect that they will see plan prices go up next year.”

How to renew a plan or enroll in HealthSource RI 

  • Online
  • By Phone: Call 1-855-840-4774 (Mon – Fri 8:00 am to 7:00 pm and Sat 9:00 am – 12:00 pm during Open Enrollment)
  • In Person: Call 1-844-602-3468 (Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm) to schedule an appointment at the walk-in center, 401 Wampanoag Trail, East Providence
  • Enrollment Events

Documents needed

  • Photo ID (driver’s license or passport for primary applicant)
  • Last 4 weeks of pay stubs
  • Social Security Number
  • Immigration documents
  • Most recent tax return

In Massachusetts, the open enrollment period is November 1, 2017 through January 23, 2018. 

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.