Anthem Blue Cross is defending its move to reduce the number of hospitals in its network for individuals buying coverage through the new health exchange marketplaces.
The state's largest carrier and only company to participate in the exchange is dropping ten New Hampshire hospitals from its provider network for all individual policy holders. That includes plans bought both inside and outside of the new health exchange marketplace that rolls out October 1st. It doesn’t apply to employer-sponsored plans or plans for some Medicare recipients.
Anthem President Lisa Guertin says the move allows them to lower rates by 25% compared to what the price would have been with all of New Hampshire’s 26 hospitals included. She says carriers around the country are making the same calculation.
"Anyone who kind of dug into what do we have to do differently on the exchange probably reached many of the same conclusions," says Guertin. "We really have to make sure that we are doing everything we can to control the affordability of the product."
Republican lawmakers including Senate President Chuck Morse have pounced on the news.
"When President Obama was selling his national health care plan to the families and businesses of New Hampshire, he assured us that health insurance would be affordable and patients would be able to keep their family doctors. Sadly, with each passing day, we are finding that the president’s promises are hollow."