Rhode Island Site Visit Report

This report, which was funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of a project to track Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation, examines Rhode Island’s progress in implementing the ACA and building upon the foundation it has been working on for nearly 15 years.

The report, authored by researchers at the Urban Institute and Georgetown University, finds that Rhode Island is off to a strong start in implementing the ACA.

A long-standing leader in improving access to health care, Rhode Island has been actively working toward establishing an operational health insurance exchange since the spring of 2010. The state has completed many essential steps toward implementing an exchange, and in November 2011 was the first in the nation to receive a level two establishment award following its successful bids for a planning grant. Rhode Island is also well positioned to implement ACA reforms regarding Medicaid, and has been recognized as an innovator in exploring the integration between the exchange, Medicaid and other human services programs.

Though Rhode Island has been successful in its health reform efforts thus far, the authors note that many important decisions have yet to be made, such as the design of the Small Business Health Options Program exchange, whether to standardize benefits, how to finance the exchange, and whether to adopt the Basic Health Plan. Like many other states, Rhode Island faces problems with health care cost growth and primary care capacity that will need to be addressed in the coming years.

This report is one of 10 state case study analyses that will be completed in 2012.