Hundreds of Thousands in U.S. Taxpayer Money per Paid HealthSource RI Customer

According to the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight, under the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal government has given $134.7 million in grants aimed, at least in part, at getting Rhode Island’s Affordable Care Act health benefits exchange, HealthSource RI, up and running.  Of that, $99.1 million went directly to the Rhode Island government.

With HealthSource RI having now released detailed results for its first month of operation, it’s possible to begin assessing a cost per enrollment.  As the following chart shows, thus far, U.S. taxpayers have spent $371,268 directly to set up the site for each of the 267 people who’ve officially enrolled.


Adding in the 925 Rhode Islanders who have completed an application, but have not completed the enrollment process by actually paying their share, the per-person taxpayer cost decreases to $83,162.

Not surprisingly, by far the greatest number of customers, 3,213, have been those who will receive their coverage for free, through the Medicaid program.  Bringing them into the mix brings the per-person taxpayer cost to $22,504… just to set up the site, remember, not to partially or fully subsidize their coverage.

Adding in the $35.6 million that the federal government gave to the University of Massachusetts Medical School in order to benefit all New England states (except New Hampshire), the costs per Rhode Island enrollment increases to $504,569, $113,020, and $30,583.  However, this number does not take into account individuals who may have enrolled in other states’ exchanges, so only a portion of the total is actually attributable to Rhode Island customers.

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