Free Help Is Available to Find and Enroll in Health Insurance
The open enrollment period to apply for health insurance with HealthSource RI runs from November 1 to December 31. This is the time to review health insurance options that best meet health care needs. In Rhode Island, there are 19 medical plans and seven dental plans available through two carriers, Neighborhood Health Plan and Blue Cross Blue Shield RI. Consumers may be eligible for financial assistance to help lower monthly premiums.
Area residents who would like assistance in deciding which plan is right for them and/or in applying for insurance can find help, free of charge, at East Bay Community Action Program. The agency’s “Navigators” are now booking appointments to assist people with enrolling in insurance through HealthSource RI. To schedule an appointment in Newport call 401-847-7821 x348 and in East Providence call 401-437-1000, option 3. Individuals seeking assistance can leave a message, including their name and phone number. Calls will be returned within 48-hours.
Appointments are scheduled at three primary sites: 100 Bullocks Point Avenue in East Providence, 6 John H. Chafee Boulevard in Newport, and 19 Broadway in Newport.
When asked about what applicants will need to bring to appointments, Carla Wahnon, Manager of Integrated Health Care, stated “Document needs will vary on a case-by-case basis, so the Navigator will screen individuals and discuss their unique requirements. Generally, it is recommended that, at a minimum, individuals bring: documentation of income for all in the tax household (example: last 4 weeks of paystubs if applicable), most recent tax forms (including social security numbers for all in tax household), and identification (example: driver’s license, immigration documentation, copy of passport).”
Enrolling through HSRI guarantees comprehensive coverage with plans meeting the Affordable Care Act regulations. Plans cover basic essential health benefits (prescription drugs, mental health treatment, free annual checkups, immunizations, and screenings) and do not exclude pre-existing conditions.
Rhode Island established a mandate for health insurance coverage in July.
Residents who do not have health coverage or qualify for an exemption, may be assessed a state tax penalty for taxes filed in 2021. Navigators can assist in finding an appropriate plan to meet individual and family needs.
East Bay Community Action Program is a private, non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation that provides a wide array of health and human services to the residents of Rhode Island’s east bay including the municipalities of: East Providence, Barrington, Warren, Bristol, Little Compton, Tiverton, Portsmouth, Middletown, Newport and Jamestown. For more information regarding services and to learn how you too can Support the CAP which supports the East Bay community, please visit ebcap.org.