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Higher health-insurance rates coming to R.I. for 2018

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A number of Rhode Island health-insurance companies have been granted permission for double-digit rate increases to their premiums for 2018.

The new rates released Thursday by the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner range from increases of 5 percent to 12.1 percent. In six of 12 cases, the rates approved are less than the increases requested by the insurance companies. Collectively, the 2018 premium approvals are $16.7 million lower than what insurance companies requested.

The rate increases approved for the individual market, which covers roughly 47,000 people, are: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, 12.1 percent; Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, 5 percent.

The rate increases approved for small-group market, which covers roughly 60,000 people, are: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, 7.3 percent; Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, 6.3 percent; United HealthCare HMO, 8.1 percent; United HealthCare PPO, 8.1 percent; Tufts Health Plan HMO, 6 percent; Tufts Health Plan PPO, 6.5 percent.

The rate increases approved for the large-group market, which covers roughly 123,000 people, are: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, 10 percent; United HealthCare, 8 percent; Tufts Health Plan HMO, 9.8 percent; Tufts Health Plan PPO, 10.4 percent.

Source: Higher health-insurance rates coming to R.I. for 2018

AARP ranks Rhode Island 32nd among states in meeting long-term care needs

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Source: AARP ranks Rhode Island 32nd among states in meeting long-term care needs

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island ranks 32nd in the nation, and the worst in New England, when it comes to meeting the long-term care needs of older residents and people with disabilities, according to a scorecard released this week by the national nonprofit AARP.

The good news: Rhode Island showed improvement in all but one category.

“The vast majority of older Rhode Islanders want to live independently, at home, as they age — most with the help of unpaid family caregivers,” Kathleen Connell, state director of AARP Rhode Island, said in a statement released Wednesday. “Even facing tight budgets, Rhode Island is making progress to help our older residents achieve that goal. However, this scorecard shows we have more to do, and we need to pick up the pace.”

Rhode Island ranks 22nd nationally “support for family caregivers” and 24th in “quality of life and quality of care.” The state ranks 35th in “effective transitions,″ or how effectively the state transitions residents between nursing homes, hospitals and homes — the only category that showed a decline.

The report — “Picking Up the Pace of Change: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers” — is the third in a series that ranks states overall and on 25 separate indicators in five key areas: affordability and access; choice of setting and provider; quality of life and quality of care; support for family caregivers; and effective transitions between nursing homes, hospitals and homes.

Unpaid family caregivers provide the bulk of care for older Rhode Islanders, in part because the cost of long-term care remains unaffordable for most middle-income families, according to AARP Rhode Island. More than 134,000 Rhode Islanders help care for their aging parents, spouses and other loved ones so they can stay at home. AARP estimates the value of this unpaid care at about $1.78 billion.

“Many [family caregivers] juggle full-time jobs with their caregiving duties,″ Connell said, while “others provide 24/7 care for their loved ones.” Family caregivers “save the state money,″ she said, “by keeping their loved ones out of costly nursing homes – most often paid for Medicaid.″

Rhode Island improved its rank from 50th to 44th in the percentage of Medicaid long-term care dollars for older adults and people with physical disabilities that support care at home and in the community.

The report comes at a time when proposals in Washington are being considered to drastically cut federal Medicaid funding, which Connell said “would threaten these advancements, likely resulting in our most vulnerable citizens losing the lifesaving supports that they count on.″

The scorecard was developed AARP with the support of The Commonwealth Fund and SCAN Foundation.

The AARP Rhode Island has more than 138,000 members age 50 and older in the state.

New England Scorecard Rankings (best to worst):

Vermont: 3

Connecticut: 10

Massachusetts: 11

New Hampshire: 16

Rhode Island: 32

Rhode Island’s scorecard:

Overall: 32

Affordability and Access: 34

Choice of Setting and Provider: 30

Quality of Life & Quality of Care: 24

Effective Transitions: 35

-larditi@providencejournal.com

(401)277-7335

On Twitter: @LynnArditi

Don’t Sell The House In A Panic – Plan Ahead!

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Worried about how you are going to pay for your medical bills? Think the only solution is to sell the house to create the cash that you will need? Don’t make uninformed decisions! There are options available that will allow you to receive the care you need without needing to sell the house.

Whether you need to do emergency planning or if you have the benefit of 5 years of expected health – we have options for you.

We meet with you, discuss your specific facts, goals and concerns, and advise you as to your best legal options.

Don’t panic – call us today for a free consultation.

Matt Leonard

Deloitte to pay R.I. $27 million for Medicaid Computer failures

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Deloitte Consulting, the contractor for the state’s troubled public-benefits computer system, has agreed to credit the state $27 million to cover problems associated with the system’s launch.   The credit will cover a “temporary hiring surge” at the state Department of Human Services and other personnel expenses. It will also pay for contracted service expenses for the remainder of the current fiscal year and the first quarter of fiscal 2018, according to a statement

Source: Deloitte to pay R.I. $27 million for UHIP failures