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6/10/2024 Assembly OKs bill protecting Rhode Islanders from annual, lifetime insurance limits
STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller and Rep. Rebecca Kislak to protect Rhode Islanders from annual and lifetime limits on health insurance benefits.

The legislation (2024-H 7091A, 2024-S 2382A), which now goes to the governor, would repeal the authority of Rhode Island’s health insurance commissioner to enforce any act of Congress or decision of federal court invalidating or repealing the prohibition of annual and lifetime limits on health insurance in this state.

The federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) — commonly called “Obamacare” — protects Americans against insurance companies’ imposition of annual and lifetime limits on the dollar amount of essential health benefits. Rhode Island law contains a similar protection, but that law contains a section excusing the health insurance commissioner from enforcing it if the federal law is nullified.

“The ACA has been the target of efforts to repeal or overturn it since its enactment in 2010. There’s no reason Rhode Island can’t enforce our own protections, even if Congress or the Supreme Court choose to overturn them at the federal level. As we’ve seen with Roe v. Wade, our federal protections can be stripped away. The way to truly protect Rhode Islanders is to ensure that protection at the state level,” said Chairman Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), who added that he is grateful for the work of the late Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin on this legislation, which she sponsored before her death last year.

Said Representative Kislak (D-Dist. 4, Providence), “It’s important to protect Rhode Islanders and make sure that our most vulnerable residents with very serious and expensive illnesses maintain access to health insurance, no matter what happens to the ACA at the federal level. Before the ACA passed, I saw the financial distress that families suffered when we had lifetime limits that kicked people off insurance when they hit a lifetime cap. We need to make sure we don’t go back. I never want to hear about any very sick child who ran out of health insurance by his second birthday, or anyone else in that unacceptable position.”

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923