CENTRAL FALLS, RI- This morning at the Blackstone Valley Community Health Center's Neighborhood Health Station in Central Falls, Governor Raimondo was joined by OHIC Commissioner Marie Ganim and HealthSourceRI Director Zachary Sherman as she announced progress Rhode Island has made keeping health insurance costs low. Due in large part to the reinsurance program created in the FY20 state budget and approved by the US Department of Health and Human Services last week, average premiums for Rhode Island consumers on the individual market will go down in 2020. This is the first time in recent history that costs have gone down on average for any consumer group.
"It is critical for Rhode Islanders to have access to quality, affordable health insurance options, and this reinsurance program is helping to make that possible." Governor Raimondo said. "We are thrilled that as premiums continue to increase across the country, Rhode Islanders on the individual market will actually see their premiums go down. The Affordable Care Act is working in Rhode Island, and I will continue to do everything in my power to keep health care costs low for Rhode Island families."
The reinsurance program Governor Raimondo introduced in her FY20 budget originated as a recommendation from the RI Market Stability Workgroup and was approved by the General Assembly in July. The program will be funded by the state's soon-to-be-implemented individual mandate, and is designed to pay for some of the most expensive insurance claims, resulting in lower premiums for consumers. This year during the rate review process, insurers were asked to submit rates with reinsurance, and without. Without the reinsurance program, average individual rates would have increased up to 7% higher than 2019 rates. With the reinsurance program, on average Rhode Islanders on the individual market will be paying less in premiums in 2020 than they did in 2019.
"HealthSource RI is proud to have worked with Governor Gina Raimondo and OHIC to develop this reinsurance program, which will result in lowered premiums and increased access to high quality affordable coverage for Rhode Islanders," said HealthSource RI Director Zach Sherman. "With so many federal challenges to the ACA, it is critical that we work together to protect our customers. This program will bring relief to those customers who have seen the biggest increase over the past two years, many of whom are middle-income families and sole proprietors."
"Rhode Island has made significant strides in controlling costs this past year." said Health Insurance Commissioner Marie L. Ganim. "Alongside premium savings through OHIC's rate review process, the passage of the reinsurance program in the state budget is critical for families and sole proprietor businesses who receive no financial assistance to pay for their health insurance premiums. Although we have been able to reduce rate increases by $15,566,000 in 2020, we know that high health insurance costs remain a burden for individuals and companies in the state. OHIC will continue to employ innovative solutions to transform the health care system and control costs for Rhode Island consumers."
Since she's been in office, Governor Raimondo has fought to expand access to health insurance and improve quality of care in Rhode Island. The Commonwealth Fund recently ranked Rhode Island's health care system the 7th best in the country, largely because of the state's low uninsured rate. Under Governor Raimondo's leadership, more than one million Rhode Islanders have health insurance. While premiums on the individual market are the only ones that will see an average decline in 2020, premiums for all consumers in Rhode Island remain competitively low.