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Rhode Island exchange prepares for big budget cut

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Managers of the state-based public health insurance exchange in Rhode Island had to make do with a much smaller budget this year, and the budget could shrink again in 2017.

A HealthSource RI advisory board gave budget details, and 2016 open enrollment performance details, in a document included in a recent meeting packet.

HealthSource RI managers expect to have just $28.9 million in funding this year, down from $50.9 million in 2015, according to the packet. All of the 2015 funding came from grants.

Related: PPACA exchange system: Pricing itself out of your hair?

This year, some revenue is coming from a 3.5 percent assessment on the insurance premium revenue flowing through its systems. 

In 2017, the Affordable Care Act exchange hopes to have $11.3 million in funding, with a small portion of the cash coming from grants and most of the rest coming from premium assessments and other operating revenue.

The Providence, Rhode Island-based exchange has dealt with the 43 percent 2016 funding drop by cutting spending on information technology in half and cutting contact center spending about 10 percent.

In 2017, exchange managers expect to make further cuts in implementation, technology and contact center spending, but they hope to maintain marketing and outreach spending at close to current levels.

In other HealthSource RI news:

  • The exchange ended April with about 40,000 exchange plan enrollees. About 12 percent of the enrollees were in Small Business Health Options Program small-group plans. In the past, many other exchanges have had trouble attracting employers.

  • The exchange found that about one-fifth of the consumers who had exchange coverage in 2015 and returned this year changed plans. Many of the consumers who changed plans moved to mid-level silver coverage, up from bare-bones bronze plans or down from richer gold plans.


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