Known for being the smallest state in the country, Rhode Island is 48 miles long and 37 miles wide. Despite its size, over 1,050,000 residents call the state home. The capital and largest city, Providence, is the second largest city in the entire New England region. Nearly the whole state can be considered the Providence metropolitan area. The Ocean State gets its name from Rhode Island’s significantly water-based surroundings.
Residents of Rhode Island have access to guaranteed issue health insurance, which is mostly administered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island. This is the only company available in the state worth investing your health care dollars with, and we highly recommend any Blue Cross and Blue Shield company. Additionally, there are no quote engines compatible with Rhode Island individual health policies, so filling out a quote form online for Rhode Island is essentially futile.
Rhode Island, as many New England states, is one of the healthier places to live in the United States. According to an annual health survey conducted by UnitedHealth Foundation, the population of Rhode Island has been ranked the tenth healthiest state for the past four consecutive years.
This is based on the high immunization coverage in the state, as well as a low count of uninsured residents. The health care system in Rhode Island is unique, yet effective, with enough primary care physicians to support and serve the population.
The state also has some less healthy facets, including a large percentage of binge drinkers, a relatively high number of preventable hospitalizations, and moderate amount of cancer and cardiovascular disease-related deaths. Obesity has also grown among Rhode Island adults, with 26 percent of the population currently considered obese. Diabetes has also seen an increase, now affecting nearly 7 percent of all adults in the state. It is essential to stay active and eat nutritiously in order to make improvements in the future.
Public Health Options
Rhode Island’s public health system is funded by the state and offers programs and services to individuals without health insurance who have medical and financial needs. Medical Assistance, or Medicaid, is a very important piece of this puzzle, which offer a wide array of services to uninsured, low-income individuals and families. Services for other types of health care are available based on specific illnesses, age groups, and other factors through the state. Coverage is also available to high-risk individuals through the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). For a complete list of programs offered through the state, visit the Rhode Island Department of Human Services.
- Rhode Island Medical Assistance: health insurance coverage for families, children, elderly persons, pregnant women, and disabled residents of Rhode Island.
- Pre-Existing Condition Plan (PCIP): Rhode Island’s temporary high-risk pool created by the health care law for individuals who are ineligible for a private health policy and have been uninsured for at least 6 months.
- Kids Connect: a program to give children with special needs the opportunity to interact and learn in a childcare center with typically-developing peers.
- Rhode Island Works: providing temporary cash assistance, health coverage, child care assistance, and help finding job training or work, available to pregnant women and adults with children under 18.
Health Insurance Laws
Rhode Island is a guaranteed issue state, which means anyone can qualify for individual health insurance regardless of their health condition. Though this is true, it is not a requirement for all insurance companies, which leaves Blue Cross Blue Shield as the main source of coverage. Blue Cross honors this law by accepting anyone with pre-existing conditions or other risk factors who cannot receive coverage in the commercial market. All products from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island are guaranteed issue.
Other health insurance companies in Rhode Island besides Blue Cross Blue Shield are permitted to reject anyone they deem ineligible for coverage. Based on a loose definition of pre-existing conditions in a look-back period of 36 months prior to applying for a plan, the insurer can decide if you fall under this category. If one of these other companies decides you have a pre-existing condition, they can also choose to sell you a plan with an exclusion period up to 12 months. They may also attach an elimination rider to your plan, thus permanently refusing to pay for treatment of the condition.
HIPAA eligible individuals have access to coverage through any insurer without a waiting period being imposed. Qualifying persons are guaranteed the right to purchase individual coverage with no waiting periods after they have received group coverage. However, since there is only one worthwhile individual health insurance company who guarantees issue of plans already, HIPAA eligibility makes little difference.