A response from Kim Keck, president & CEO of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island to the Senate's Better Care Reconciliation Act


Given our current political climate, it’s difficult to remember a time before healthcare and healthcare reform dominated the headlines. The high cost of care, particularly escalating prescription drug costs, and the uncertainty and unpredictability surrounding healthcare reform have left many people feeling vulnerable, wondering what will happen to their own health insurance.

This is as true in Rhode Island as it is nationally. At Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) we understand that Rhode Islanders may be concerned about the impact of the national healthcare debate on their own lives.

No matter what happens in Washington, BCBSRI will stand by our absolute commitment to provide access to high-quality affordable healthcare for all Rhode Islanders. It’s a commitment that defines us as a local company dedicated to the communities we serve.

While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded access to health insurance, I’m proud to say that BCBSRI, along with the state of Rhode Island, adopted many ACA protections before the law was enacted. And, we pledge to continue our support of these key protections:
• Making health insurance available to everyone, regardless of any pre-existing medical conditions
• Allowing young people to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26
• Charging no out-of-pocket costs for some preventive services and screenings
• Supporting no lifetime dollar limits on benefits
• Not varying premiums based on gender

It’s imperative that Rhode Islanders have access to the right care, in the right place, at the right time. While debate on the U.S. Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act continues, we are deeply concerned that the bill, while providing temporary market stability, will likely result in the loss of coverage for many in Rhode Island. And, whatever the outcome of healthcare reform, we strongly urge continued efforts to increase access to affordable care.

BCBSRI will continue to work closely with our state’s leadership, community partners, employers, and healthcare providers to control rising healthcare costs, such as those attributed to prescription drugs, which today account for more than 20 percent of our member claims. We know that when care is coordinated among primary care providers, specialists, pharmacists, and hospitals, Rhode Islanders see improvements in the quality of their care and overall health. Our efforts go beyond the healthcare delivery system – we are also encouraging employers and individuals to consider new coverage solutions that create greater customer choice, lower premiums, and promote wellness.

Rhode Island has been proactive about developing solutions in an evolving healthcare landscape and it is critical that we come together – particularly around ensuring access to high quality affordable care. We hope that federal leaders will work together toward a legislative solution that promotes market stabilization through continued federal subsidies for those individuals who can least afford coverage. The BCBSRI team looks forward to ongoing collaboration with federal, state, and local leaders to continue Rhode Island’s progress on the path to greater healthcare access and affordability.

There’s no doubt in my mind that healthcare will continue to drive news headlines, but my hope is that the headlines shift to our collective successes in finding solutions that target the cost of care, which will ultimately lead to healthcare that is affordable, simple, and available to everyone.

To show you the right information, please indicate how many employees your business has.
Fewer than 50 employees
50 or more employees