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Lt. Gov. Roberts and The Rhode Island Foundation Release New Study: 140,000 Rhode Islanders Without Health Insurance

New study funded by the Foundation finds 16% of Rhode Islanders under 65 without insurance at a cost of $ 604 million

PROVIDENCE— The Rhode Island Foundation and Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts today released the latest findings on the number of Rhode Islanders who are without health insurance, and the cost burden of the uninsured on all Rhode Islanders.

At the public forum hosted by Lt. Gov. Roberts and The Rhode Island Foundation, "Getting Everyone Into the Pool: A look at the uninsured in Rhode Island," projections for the future, and the costs to the system, Deborah Chollet of Mathematica Policy Research and independent consultant Deborah Faulkner presented the most recent data on the number of families and individuals that are currently uninsured in Rhode Island, and projections of the cost to all Rhode Islanders. Among the key findings: 140,000 Rhode Islanders, or 16% of the population under 65 years of age are currently without health insurance. And providing health care for the uninsured costs at least $604 million annually.

“This study gives us the best picture of Rhode Island’s uninsured, and the impact that individuals and families without insurance have on every Rhode Island taxpayer. The rising numbers of uninsured and the cost we pay for the uninsured makes it clear that we must seek solutions to make health care affordable and accessible to all Rhode Islanders. Over the coming months we will continue to convene public meetings that will directly address these crucial issues,” said Lt. Gov. Roberts.

“The Foundation is pleased to present this research on Rhode Island’s uninsured population and the costs this problem presents for our health care system,” said Owen Heleen, Vice President for Grant Programs for The Rhode Island Foundation. “As we watch our national debate on how we can cover more of our citizens, we think it is critically important for Rhode Island to weigh its policy options in the light that research like this can provide. We’d like to thank Deborah Chollet, her colleagues at Mathematica Policy Research, and Deborah Faulkner for illuminating these costs and some of the options available to us.”

The Rhode Island Foundation, Rhode Island’s only community foundation, is the largest supporter of nonprofit organizations in the state. The Foundation works to build a better Rhode Island as a philanthropic resource for people, communities, organizations and programs. Through its Fund for a Healthy Rhode Island, the Foundation has made significant investments in improving access to quality primary care for all Rhode Islanders

The “Study of Rhode Island’s Uninsured: Current Costs and Future Opportunities” is available at www.rifoundation.org and www.ltgov.ri.gov

Related links

Department or agency: Elizabeth Roberts, Office of the Lieutenant Governor

Online: http://www.ltgov.state.ri.us/

Release date: 03-16-2010

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