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      Thousands of parents to be shifted off RIte Care

      About 6,500 parents are beingnotified they will be shifted off RIte Care, the state-supportedhealth insurance for low-income families.

      Letters started to go outFriday to inform those Rhode Islanders that the new eligibility standardsenacted by the General Assembly will mean they no longer qualify for theinsurance.

      However, the HealthSource RIinsurance exchange will offer alternatives, and the state will assist parentspay the premiums.

      "There is coverage that webelieve is affordable and for those families that need assistance to pay forthat coverage the state will provide that assistance," said Elena Nicolella ofthe state Executive Officeof Health and Human Services.

      Nicolella said the assistanceis possible now because of HealthSource RI.

      "Prior to the development ofHealthSource RI it was really questionable whether these parents could accessaffordable health coverage. Now that we have it, we want as many people to takeadvantage of it as possible," she said.

      Even with the state subsidyfor insurance premiums, the shift will save taxpayers money.

      Dropping adults from RIteCare saves an estimated $11 million, while the subsidies are expected to cost$1.4 million.

      Nicolellaemphasized that no children covered by RIte Care will be affected.