HealthSource RI releases enrollment breakdown - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

HealthSource RI releases enrollment breakdown

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Nicole Gerber

ngerber@abc6.com

@nicolegerber

PROVIDENCE - Numbers through the start of November show of the 4400 enrollments fewer than 1200 signed up for private plans.

And that's not the only area with enrollment higher than organizers first expected.

Officials with HealthSource RI also say that the amount of small businesses beginning the process has exceeded their expectations, though some say those numbers don't translate well for all industries in the state.

 "You're just not dealing with a lot of money, we don't have a lot of money. People aren't getting rich off of restaurants unless you're an Applebees or you're a big chain restaurant," said Ben Lloyd, manager of the Tazza Cafe in downtown Providence. 

He's worried about the future,  since the business has fewer than 50 employees... making it hard to afford healthcare under Affordable Care Act guidelines.

 "When you look at the hiring practices that will be put into place and that will become standard to keep people under these limits, people are going to lose hours, people are going to need other jobs," said Lloyd.

Recent numbers released by HealthSource RI show that Lloyd, and Tazza, may be in the minority when it comes to how universal healthcare is affecting small businesses in the state.

 "We have 471 that have actually gone in and completed a big portion of the process to sign up, that's far more than what I expected," said Christine Ferguson, head of HealthSource RI.

 Also higher than expected is the number of people enrolled in Medicaid. More than 3,000... that's three quarters of all Rhode Islanders currently signed up.

 "That's a great success... It moves us toward reducing the number of uninsured," said Ferguson.

"I'm a case manager, I work primarily with the homeless, so I see it first hand," said Ron Watts of Providence, "it's nice to know that these people that come to our door every day are finally going to be able to have some help."

Though that helpfulness may not run across the board.

"It's not a one size fits all plan for every business, and I don't think it's a one size fits all plan for every employee," said Lloyd.

If you've enrolled or you're thinking of enrolling through HealthSource RI remember that the first month's premium is due by December 15th for coverage to begin in January.

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