US Senate News:
Source: United States Senator for Rhode Island Sheldon Whitehouse
RI federal delegation raising awareness about significantly increased tax credits, expanded eligibility for subsidies, and more support for unemployed individuals
Providence, RI – The four members of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation today joined with the leaders of HealthSource RI and the Providence Community Health Centers (PCHC) to get the word out to Rhode Islanders that health insurance is more affordable than ever thanks to the American Rescue Plan. The event was held at the future site of PCHC Atwood in Olneyville, Providence Community Health Centers’ ninth site, which will open in January 2022 and become the provider for 14,000 new patients.
“The pandemic highlighted the importance of health insurance and the American Rescue Plan delivered new resources to help Rhode Islanders save money and access health care through HealthSourceRI. We want everyone who is eligible to take advantage of the savings and opportunities to get quality, comprehensive coverage that fits their budget and needs,” said Senator Reed.
“Our American Rescue Plan has made high-quality health insurance more affordable than ever for virtually all Rhode Islanders. Subsidies are now available to people at higher income levels, and customers who were already receiving tax credits will save a lot more money. I’m going to keep working to lock in these savings permanently, and to create a public option that will bring down health care costs for the long term,” said Senator Whitehouse, who recently reintroduced legislation to create a public option on every health insurance exchange.
“Throughout my career in Congress, one of my top priorities has been fighting to lower the skyrocketing cost of health care,” said Rep. Jim Langevin. “Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we’re making health care more accessible and affordable for Rhode Island families. I encourage all Rhode Islanders to take advantage of the expanded tax credits and lower premiums that my colleagues and I fought to secure.”
“The American Rescue Plan invested $30 million in financial assistance for HealthSource Rhode Island customers. This is already driving down premiums – by an average of $50 per person per month and $85 per policy per month,” said Congressman Cicilline. “This, combined with the extended Special Enrollment Period, will help ensure more Rhode Islanders have access to quality, affordable health care. That helps all of us because it means more Rhode Islanders can provide a better life for themselves and their families, creating a stronger economy that benefits our entire state.”
The American Rescue Plan, which all four members of the delegation supported, will result in $30 million in savings for new and existing HealthSource RI customers in the form of lower health insurance premiums and increased tax credits. Cost-lowering changes include:
• Most customers who already had been receiving tax credits each month are getting even more financial support in 2021 and 2022.
• More people are eligible for financial assistance for this year and next, as the American Rescue Plan raised the income limit on who qualifies for support.
• If customers received at least one week of unemployment income in 2021, they are eligible for the maximum amount of tax credits for the rest of the year and may qualify for health coverage as low as $2 a month.
For example, with the new changes, an individual aged 60 making $55,000 annually could save $350 a month on insurance premiums, totaling more than $4,000 over the course of a year. According to an estimate by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 92 percent of people who buy their own health insurance now qualify for a subsidy and 1.4 million uninsured individuals across the country became eligible for subsidized coverage because of the American Rescue Plan.
“At HealthSource RI, we are proud to work alongside a federal delegation which prioritizes the health of Rhode Island residents,” said Lindsay Lang, Director of HealthSource RI. “With 96% of the state insured today, we have one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country, and while that is worth celebrating, we still have work to do. The additional financial help made possible by the American Rescue Plan will help uninsured Rhode Islanders access affordable coverage, and it cuts the monthly costs for the average HealthSource RI customer in half.”
Many existing customers have already had the changes automatically applied to their accounts, and others will see the adjustments later this month. Rhode Islanders who don’t have health insurance can sign up for coverage through August 15, even if they have not experienced a qualifying life event. Families and individuals can get estimates by calling HealthSource RI at 1-855-840-4774.
“Access to health care and insurance is a challenge for so many,” said Merrill Thomas, President and CEO of Providence Community Health Centers. “It is fitting that we are holding this event at the site of our newest health center, which will serve a community in great need of high quality health services.”
The $15 million project to build PCHC Atwood was supported by more than $3 million in federal New Market Tax Credits. The NMTC Program incentivizes community development and economic growth through the use of tax credits that attract private investment to distressed communities.