As of January 1, income eligibility levels for parents of Medicaid-eligible children will drop from about $41,000 a year for a family of four (175 percent of the federal poverty level) to approximately $32,000 for that same family (133 percent of the federal poverty level). Children currently receiving RIte Care will not be impacted by this change; however, approximately 6,500 parents will lose RIte Care coverage, which is one of the healthcare options offered under the states Medicaid program.
In order to ensure that parents affected by the change in eligibility have at least one available coverage option, EOHHS is offering to facilitate enrollment through the new health insurance marketplace, HealthSource RI. This facilitated enrollment in the Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island VALUE silver level product will be available effective January 1, 2014. In anticipation of this transition, the General Assembly created a fund to aid in moving these RIte Care parents from Medicaid to the commercial market. Through this fund, EOHHS will also pay for the cost of the individuals premium for the first month. EOHHS, HealthSource RI, and the Neighborhood Health Plan are working cooperatively to contact all individuals to inform them of this option.
The facilitated enrollment is purely voluntary. Parents who do not want this option can decline participation.
"This is a time in our state and country when we are trying to extend coverage and access to as many people as possible, so I am pleased with how the Neighborhood Health Plan, HealthSource RI, DHS and my team came together to create this solution," said EOHHS Secretary Steven Costantino. "The initiative will guarantee coverage on January 1, ensuring continuation of health services. At the same time, we will be able to give all individuals the time and attention they need to understand the differences between Medicaid and commercial coverage and to ensure they choose the plan that is right for them.
RIte Care Parents to receive assistance in ensuring health care coverage
December 6, 2013
"This facilitated enrollment ensures that some of Rhode Islands most vulnerable population remains covered while our Contact Center specialists, Navigators and DHS Field Officers work to make sure these parents have the information they need to make the best choice for them, said HealthSource RI Director Christine Ferguson. This collaboration between EOHHS and the health insurers will help streamline this process for these parents.
Both Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and Neighborhood are offering products for individuals and families through Health Source RI. The facilitated enrollment uses the Neighborhood VALUE plan in order to make this process as simple as possible. A significant number of affected parents currently access services through the Neighborhood RIte Care product. After January 1, every effort will be made to ensure the parents choose the plan that is appropriate for them.
"Assuring continuity of care is important for all patients, particularly for transitioning parents on RIte Care with chronic conditions and limited resources," said Jim Hooley, President and CEO for Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island.
Letters are being mailed to all affected RIte Care parents today.