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Medicaid enrollment swells in RI in 1st 4 months

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Medicaid enrollments have swelled in Rhode Island in the four months since the new state-run health insurance marketplace launched, according to data released Tuesday on HealthSource RI.

Nearly 36,000 individuals enrolled in the Medicaid program in Rhode Island from Oct. 1 to Saturday, according to the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

The number appears to be much higher than officials anticipated by this point. Health and Human Services Secretary Steven Costantino had said previously he expected 51,000 to enroll in Medicaid through June 2015.

Rhode Island was among the states to expand Medicaid coverage under the federal health care overhaul.

Meanwhile, HealthSource RI reported enrolling 16,512 individuals in private plans during the same period. Nearly 31 percent of enrollees are 34 or younger, while 30 percent are 55 or older. More than 80 percent are getting tax credits or other financial assistance to offset the premium costs.

It's not clear how many of those who enrolled were previously uninsured. When HealthSource RI launched, the state had an estimated 120,000 people without insurance.

The marketplace also reported 107 small-business enrollments, representing 420 covered employees and, when family members are counted, a total of 658 people.

The first open enrollment period for individual coverage through HealthSource RI runs through March. Medicaid enrollment is rolling.

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