Any insurance plan sold in the online exchange would first face a public hearing under a bill before State Senators. The measure comes in reaction to Anthem’s decision to cut out 10 of the state's 26 hospitals for plans sold on the new marketplace, a move many lawmakers and consumers say they were blindsided by.
The company defends the decision, saying it helped lower costs by 25%.
In a push for greater transparency into how these plans get approved, Sen. Sam Cataldo (R-Farmington) is sponsoring a bill that calls for two public hearings on each plan before regulators give the go-ahead.
“Families across New Hampshire liked their health care plan. They liked their doctor. But they couldn’t keep them,” Cataldo writes in a statement. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Commerce Committee to make sure these important decisions are made in the light of day."
Jennifer Patterson with the Insurance Department cautions the idea could create more barriers to competition, and that the state only has a three month window to act on proposed plans.
"There are benefits to having public input, but there also are some constraints…some very significant time constraints," says Patterson.
There are also concerns about proprietary information being disclosed.
Next week, the Insurance Department holds a public hearing on a related matter: it comes after a complaint filed by Frisbee Memorial Hospital, which was denied access to Anthem’s network for 2014.