Health
5:30 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

N.H. Marketplace Will Have Lower Prices, But Fewer Choices, Than Neighbors

A new report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services provides a snapshot of premium prices for health plans sold in the new marketplaces. When they launch October 1, individuals will be able to comparison shop for plans in their state's marketplace and apply for subsidies meant to make insurance more affordable.

According to DHHS, the average price for 'silver' tier policies in New Hampshire is $359. (All plans are now categorized as either Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Bronze, depending on factors including monthly premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.)

National average does not include Massachusetts, Hawaii, or Kentucky, where rate information isn't yet available.

Historically, New England has had some of the highest rates in the country, so it's no surprise that New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine prices are higher than the national average. Anthem Blue Cross, the only company that will sell plans in New Hampshire's marketplace in 2014, says it was able to lower prices by as much as 25% by limiting the number of doctors and hospitals in the network. 

Anthem also says it will offer 11 plans across a range of tiers, and one catastrophic plan. That leaves New Hampshire consumers with fewer options than in neighboring states.

Estimated number of plans for sale in 2014.

The new report also provides a look at what younger consumers can expect if they want to buy their own coverage. 

N.H. Insurance Department officials caution that making apples-to-apples comparisons to current rates in the individual market is difficult. That's because plans sold in the marketplace face a host of new mandates, including restrictions that prohibit turning people away because of pre-existing health conditions. Maternity benefits and prescriptions must also be included. Plans sold today don’t face those same requirements.