Rhode Island had an uninsured rate of about 4.3% as of 2019, which is among the lowest rates in the country but still amounts to about 43,400 people. This is according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). When the nonprofit looked again at the uninsured rate in 2021, they found that 20,500 people without health insurance in Rhode Island could qualify for marketplace coverage.
Marketplace coverage is regulated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the country’s current healthcare law. The ACA requires major medical plans to cover pre-existing health conditions and 10 essential health benefits. Those benefits include prescription drugs, mental health care, rehabilitative care and more.
The ACA also created advance premium tax credits, also called subsidies, to help people with low to moderate incomes afford health insurance. Under the law, these subsidies are available to people earning 100% to 400% of the federal poverty level.
When Kaiser Family Foundation looked at the number of people in Rhode Island who didn’t have health insurance but who could enroll in marketplace coverage, they estimated that 14% of them could enroll in a bronze plan for free thanks to subsidies.
KFF also calculated the average lowest cost of marketplace coverage in Rhode Island for 2021 and found that the lowest cost by category was $231 for a bronze plan, $328 for a silver plan and $339 for a gold plan.
These averages don’t take into account premium subsidies.
If you qualify for a premium subsidy, your best option for subsidized health insurance is to shop on the state’s health insurance marketplace at HealthSourceRI.com. Rhode Island is among the states with its own health insurance exchange (aka marketplace).
Cost and coverage vary based on where you live. There are at least two insurers offering marketplace coverage in Rhode Island in 2021, including BlueCross BlueShield of Rhode Island.
Note that Rhode Island has an individual mandate for health insurance. If you live here, you’re required to have health insurance that meets the state’s standards, or you’ll pay a fine for not having coverage.
Kaiser Family Foundation, “Health Insurance Coverage of the Total Population”
Kaiser Family Foundation, “Marketplace Eligibility Among the Uninsured: Implications for a Broadened Enrollment Period and ACA Outreach” (January 27, 2021)
Kaiser Family Foundation, “Average Marketplace Premiums by Metal Tier, 2018-2021”
Kaiser Family Foundation, “Insurer Participation on the ACA Marketplaces, 2014-2021” (November 23, 2020)