In the 2017 legislative session, Rhode Island passed legislation improving price transparency by requiring hospitals to provide patients with a cost estimate of the anticipated services. However, a number of other initiatives designed to contain health care costs for health care consumers failed to pass. Two bills sought to directly set the prices health care providers can bill patients for their health care records. Another bill aimed to improve health care transparency by studying and analyzing patient liability health plans and by requiring health insurers to make their plans’ assessment, restriction, and utilization information available on their websites.

In the 2018 legislative session, several innovative health care bills were proposed, but few were signed into law. The Rhode Island legislature successfully passed a bill to decrease the size of premium increases through reinsurance — this newly enacted statute will lower healthcare costs for consumers by mitigating the impact high-risk individuals have on health insurance premiums. Rhode Island has also passed a bill that will allow small business owners to purchase health plans offered by their State Exchange. Rhode Island is seeking a 1332 State Innovation waiver in conjunction with both bills.

With the goal of containing health care costs, the legislature proposed additional bills that would have created restrictions on premium rates or increases, but these bills failed to pass. The Senate also unsuccessfully proposed a bill that sought to create a universal single-payer health care insurance program for Rhode Islanders. Similarly, both the House and Senate proposed, but did not pass, a resolution to encourage Congress to pass legislation creating a “Medicare for all” single payer program. On the drug pricing side, the legislature attempted to regulate the pharmaceutical industry by increasing drug price transparency and empowering consumers with purchasing power, but the two houses could not come to an agreement regarding any of the proposed bills, which included price gouging regulation and price transparency efforts.

The State Database

The Source tracks state activities impacting healthcare price and competition in both legislation and litigation in a searchable database to help stakeholders at the state level understand their legal and regulatory environment as they make efforts to improve access, quality, and efficiency, and reduce costs in healthcare. We currently cover bills from the 2017-2018 legislative term and key statutes from each state. Search the database for specific bills, statutes or cases by using keyword, key issue category, and/or jurisdiction.

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Additional Resources


Rhode Island’s most recent legislative session ran from 1/2/2018 – 6/23/2018. Bills from 2017 were carried over to 2018 for the 2017-2018 legislative term.


Rhode Island’s fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 in the following year. Rhode Island enacted its FY 2019 Budget during the 2018 regular legislative session. The FY 2019 Budget totals $9.37 billion and focuses on education & training programs, attracting and retaining jobs, and helping Rhode Islanders in need. The Governor proposes funding $3.9 billion to maintain existing services for Rhode Island’s most vulnerable populations, such as addressing the opioid and mental health crisis. Overall, the Governor’s five-year plan allocates 0.5% to health and human services on-going projects and asset protection. To view Rhode Island’s FY 2019 Budget, click here.




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