- Associated Press - Monday, January 13, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Sixty-three percent of enrollments for health coverage during the first three months of Rhode Island’s new insurance marketplace have been for Medicaid, rather than private plans, state officials said Monday.

HealthSource RI said that 11,770 individuals enrolled in commercial plans between Oct. 1, when the marketplace opened, and Jan. 4. The state Health and Human Services office said 19,941 enrolled in Medicaid during the same period.

Of those who enrolled for private coverage, 9,902 have paid and had coverage begin this month, according to HealthSource RI.

The marketplace, sometimes known as an exchange, also released new demographic data that show who is using it and what type of coverage they are choosing.

One-third of individual private-plan enrollees are 55 and older; 23 percent are 18 to 34. The overwhelming majority of those who signed up chose a Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island plan. Fifty-six percent chose a “silver” plan over bronze, gold and platinum.

Eighty-seven percent are receiving some kind of subsidies for the coverage.

It’s not clear how many of those who enrolled in private plans were previously uninsured.

Most Americans are now required to have health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act, or pay a penalty. There are more than 120,000 uninsured in Rhode Island in a population of just over 1 million.

Rhode Island also is expanding eligibility for Medicaid under its version of health care overhaul. Tens of thousands of people already were eligible for the program but not enrolled. State Health and Human Services Secretary Steven Costantino has said he expects 51,000 new enrollees through June 2015.

The state has not publicly released enrollment targets for the first sign-up period, but the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services set a goal of 5,640 enrollments in Rhode Island by Dec. 31 and 12,000 by March 31.

HealthSource RI also reported Monday that 75 small businesses have enrolled, representing 530 employees. The state is putting a lot of emphasis on getting small businesses to sign up.

The marketplace is offering 12 individual plans and 16 small-group plans in 2014.

The deadline to pay for coverage beginning Jan. 1 already passed, but open enrollment is continuing through March 31. The next deadline to select and pay for a plan is Jan. 23.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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