Taking care of your physical and mental health is extremely important as you reenter the community.
Rhode Island now requires all state residents to have healthcare insurance for themselves, their spouses and dependent children, effective January 1, 2020. If you do not have coverage, you may have to pay a penalty when you file income taxes. However, if your income is below the amount required to file federal income tax, you are exempt from the penalty. [For example, in 2019, a single individual does not have to file federal income tax if he/she earned under $12,000 for the year.] You are also exempt as long as you are incarcerated.
Before your release, a discharge planner will help you apply for Medicaid, a free health care insurance program that helps low-income families and individuals pay for health care costs. Once you get out, you should check to see if your application was accepted and pick up your official paperwork. You can go in person to your local Department of Human Services (DHS) office (See Appendix E for a list of DHS offices in RI) or call HealthSource RI at 1-855-840-4774
Once you are working, your income may disqualify you for Medicaid. When that happens, finding health insurance to pay for services and a primary care doctor to take care of your health needs can be complicated and sometime discouraging. There are resources to help you. We have provided several in this section.
BUYING INSURANCE THROUGH HEALTHSOURCE RI
Choosing a health insurance plan among the many that are offered can be confusing. HealthSource RI is the state’s official site to help you compare health insurance plans and find the most affordable one that is best for you. You can make an appointment at their drop-in center at 401 Wampanoag Trail, East Providence, call 1-855-840-4774 or visit their website: https://healthsourceri.com .
HealthSource also has ‘navigators’ or counselors in many community agencies (such as Amos House) throughout the state to help you choose a plan and fill out insurance coverage applications. The service is free and you can find a list of navigators in the appendix or call 211 to find help in your community.
You may also qualify for a tax credit to help pay for insurance depending on your household income. HealthSource RI can help you determine if you and your family are eligible for financial help.
Ordinarily there is a specific time period when you can apply for health insurance called ‘open enrollment’. That time period is usually from November 1 to December 15 each year. However, there are certain circumstances, such as being released from incarceration, that allow you to apply at other times of the year.
EXEMPTION/COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS
If you qualify for an exemption due to low income and do not have health insurance or Medicaid, see Community Health Centers tab below.
If you qualify for an exemption due to low income and do not have health insurance or Medicaid, there are nine Community Health Centers in Rhode Island with multiple locations that provide primary care for all patients regardless of age, income, or insurance status on a sliding-fee based on the patient’s ability to pay. Community Health Centers also provide language interpretation and translation, transportation, and case management. Some offer dental care and mental health services as well. Not all Centers may be accepting new patients. Call the site in your area to find out if they have openings and to schedule an initial visit. Proof of income may be required for discounted or free care.
You can find a list of community health care sites and contact information at: http://www.rihca.org/ To the right of the state map that you see on the website, click on the name of the community closest to you under the heading “Find a Community Health Center” for a list of community health center locations near you.
The RI Free Clinic at 655 Broad Street, Providence also provides free primary care, chronic disease management and behavioral health services to uninsured, working poor and low-income adults. The Clinic is a cost effective alternative to emergency rooms for uninsured residents seeking comprehensive health care.
If you are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can seek help in several different ways, for example as an outpatient living at home, in a residential program, at a community recovery center, or through the 12-step program of AA. There are many options in Rhode Island, some of which are free, but know that there may be waiting lists, especially for residential programs, and some centers require health insurance coverage. For a list of agencies licensed to provide substance use treatment services in Rhode Island, go to the Department of Behavioral Health Care website at: https://bhddh.ri.gov/substance_use/individual.php and click on the blue box titled “Licensed Treatment Providers”. There is also a list provided in the appendix.
Rhode Island’s Hope and Recovery Support Line, 401-942-STOP (7867) connects people to treatment and recovery services 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year.
Moving back into the community, finding housing and a job, and reestablishing connections to friends, family and perhaps your children, can be a hard adjustment. If you are feeling overwhelmed with personal crises, substance abuse or mental health issues, please seek help. There are resources in the community to help you through difficult periods.
Location: 975 Waterman Ave, East Providence
Hours: Open 24 hrs, 7 days a week
BH Link provides immediate crisis intervention services to help you cope, and then connects you to ongoing services, treatment and care. BH Link offers crisis assessment, short term mental health services, and referrals to housing and basic needs assistance, addiction services, and longer term mental health services. The center accepts all health insurance but those without insurance can also receive services.
You can walk in to the East Providence center at any time, or call the BH Link Hotline, (414-LINK; 414-5465) a 24/7 call-in center that connects people to appropriate care and resources, when they or someone they care about is experiencing a behavioral healthcare crisis.
COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH CENTERS
Rhode Island has a network of six private, nonprofit licensed community mental health centers, known as CMHCs, located throughout the state. The CMHCs provide behavioral/mental health services ranging from emergency services, community-based outpatient treatment, substance use treatment, case management and other supports. Depending on the center, they may offer vocational and supported employment services, and navigators who can help you get health insurance, tax preparation assistance, and housing supports.
You can find a list of community mental health centers, their locations and contact numbers in the appendix. There is a fee for services and they will ask you for your health insurance information when you call.
Veterans Crisis Line is a toll-free, confidential hotline that connects veterans in crisis (and their families and friends) with Department of Veterans’ Affairs responders.
Phone: 1-800-273-8255 (then press 1) or text 838255 or start an online chat at their website: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/hotline
Veterans can inquire about healthcare at the VA Customer Service Hotline: 877-222-8387