Affordable Care Act

ACA
11:34 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Three Hospitals Penalized For Avoidable Infections, Injuries

Credit Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon

Three New Hampshire hospitals will be penalized next year for potentially avoidable mistakes, such as patient infections and injuries.

The federal government claims Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon and Eliot Hospital and Catholic Medical Center in Manchester should have done more to protect people from a list of "hospital-acquired conditions" in 2013. Those conditions include falls, bed sores, and infections from catheters.

As a result, in the fiscal year starting next October, the feds will penalize those three hospitals one percent of their Medicare payments.

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Health
7:59 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

Monday Marks Deadline For ACA Shoppers Who Want Jan. 1 Insurance Start

Credit Simon Bergmann via Flickr CC

Monday marks a key deadline in the enrollment period for New Hampshire residents shopping for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

The health law's second signup season ends February 15th, but Monday is the last day to enroll for coverage that starts January 1st.

As that date nears, insurance company officials are urging consumers to consider all their options given that the number of companies offering health plans has increased from one to five. The number of plans available to individuals also has jumped, from 11 to 40.

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Affordable Care Act
4:54 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Feds Reward Ten Health Centers For Improving Community Health

Credit Families First Health & Support Center

Ten community health centers in New Hampshire are getting $486,000 in federal money meant to reward them for being leaders in areas such as chronic disease management and preventive care.

The money from the Department of Health and Human Services is part of the Affordable Care Act and is going to centers that have achieved the best overall clinical outcomes or have exceeded national benchmarks.

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Health
8:28 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Second ACA Enrollment Begins Nov.15

New Hampshire residents get their second chance to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act starting Nov. 15. 

The second enrollment season for healthcare.gov runs through Feb. 15. More than 40,000 New Hampshire residents selected health plans during the first enrollment period, which ended March 31. 

Health
8:15 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Health Center Receives Grant For Mental Health, Substance Abuse Programs

The Lamprey Health Care center in Newmarket is getting a $242,000 grant through the Affordable Care Act to create or expand its mental health and substance abuse treatment programs.

The grant is part of $51 million in grants announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The money is going to 210 health centers to expand services to 440,000 people around the country.

At Lamprey, the grant means the number of people in New Hampshire with access to mental health or substance abuse treatment will increase by just over 200.

Health
5:10 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Two Healthcare Centers Receive Federal Grants For Renovations

Lamprey Health Care's Raymond facility will receive a $250,000 for renovations designed to make the building more accessible.

Two New Hampshire healthcare centers will split nearly half a million dollars in federal grants announced on Tuesday. The funding comes from the Affordable Care Act and will be used for renovations.

Lamprey Health Care will use its $250,000 grant to make its Raymond facility more accessible for patients and doctors. The work will include redesigning the floor plan and making the entrance more accessible to wheelchairs. Michelle Gaduet, Lamprey's Communications Coordinator, says the building hasn’t been updated in 18 years.

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NH News
4:30 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Four Community Health Centers To Share $921,000 In Federal Funds

Four health centers in the state will be sharing about $921,000 in federal funds to help people with mental illness or substance abuse...

The funds are coming through the Affordable Care Act and they’ll be used at community health centers, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services said Thursday.

Those centers are:

* Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth: $250,000.

* Harbor Homes in Nashua: $250,000.

* Manchester Community Health Center: $250,000.

* City of Manchester: $171,360.

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Health
5:08 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Medicaid Enrollment Jumps By 11,000, Stretching State Budget

An unexpected surge in Medicaid enrollments during the past six months is putting pressure on the state’s budget.

Medicaid has seen its enrollment jump by roughly 11,000 people since January 1. State officials attribute this to two main things: under the Affordable Care Act, there’s a streamlined application process, and that increased publicity surrounding the law brought out more applicants.

Health and Human Service Commissioner Nick Toumpas says it’s more than they expected, but that nearly 70% of the new sign-ups are children.

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Health
2:47 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Hassan Holds Medicaid Expansion Kick-Off Event

Governor Hassan speaking at the Manchester Community Health Center on Monday.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Enrollment in Medicaid for as many as 50,000 newly eligible residents opens tomorrow, with health benefits slated to start August 15th.

Governor Maggie Hassan held a kick-off event on Monday at the Manchester Community Health Center, where she called the bi-partisan deal to expand the state’s Medicaid program the most significant health care legislation in decades.

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Health
4:52 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

More Hospitals, More Choices Coming To Health Exchange

Credit N.H. Insurance Department

Consumers will have more than 50 plans to choose from next year on the Affordable Care Act health exchange, according to the New Hampshire Insurance Department.

During the first of two public hearings, department officials on Tuesday said five insurance companies will compete in the marketplace in 2015.

Anthem was the only participant this year, and it’s decision to include just 16 of the state’s 26 hospitals in its network sparked frustration even among supporters of the health law.

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Health
3:22 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

The Suddenly Crowded New Hampshire Health Exchange

Credit healthcare.gov

  Two more insurance companies say they plan to sell policies in New Hampshire’s health exchange in 2015, bringing the total to five carriers. The suddenly crowded field is a sharp contrast to this year, when only Anthem is offering policies through healthcare.gov.

Harvard Pilgrim and Minuteman Health, both based in Massachusetts, announced their intentions to join the exchange earlier this year, and now the New Hampshire Insurance Department says Assurant Health and Maine Community Health Options have also submitted plans for regulatory review.

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Health
4:48 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Health Law Proves Big Business For Contractors

Governor Maggie Hassan signs New Hampshire's Medicaid expansion plan into law on March 27, 2014.
Credit Josh Rogers / NHPR

There was a time not all that long ago when politicians in New Hampshire had no trouble turning away federal money tied to the Affordable Care Act.

In March of 2011, the Republican-controlled Executive Council rejected a planning grant to explore creation of a state-run health care exchange.

At the time, Republican Chris Sununu said federal money for implementing so-called Obamacare was “like crack to the states.”

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Health
6:20 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Insurance Department Holds Hearing On Narrow Network

Margaret McCarthy testifying Wednesday in Concord.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Politicians in New Hampshire have done plenty of arguing over the Affordable Care Act. Today, lawyers were given a turn.

A long-awaited hearing was held at the state Insurance Department. At issue is a complaint filed by an East Rochester woman over alleged harm suffered at the hands of Anthem’s limited network of hospitals.

Margaret McCarthy was a bookkeeper and office manager, but now, in her early 60s, she’s content volunteering as treasurer of her church.

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Ad Audit
2:52 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Ad Audit: Conservative Group’s New Ad Targets Kuster’s Support of Affordable Care Act

Credit Sara Plourde

 The New Hampshire arm of Americans for Prosperity continues to pound away at Democrats over the Affordable Care Act.

The conservative non-profit's latest volley is a new television ad attacking New Hampshire’s 2nd District Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster for her support of so-called Obamacare.

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News Primer
3:09 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

News Primer: Frisbie Hospital Challenges Anthem's Provider Network

Credit Sara Plourde

 In the pitched political battle over the Affordable Care Act, Republicans and Democrats seem to have found common ground on one issue: Anthem’s so-called narrow network of providers.

From GOP Senate candidate Scott Brown to Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, a wide array of voices have complained that Anthem’s decision to exclude 10 hospitals from its plans sold through the new federal health exchange harms patients.

On Wednesday, one of those patients, an East Rochester woman named Margaret McCarthy, will get a long-awaited hearing on the matter at the state Insurance Department.

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Newscast
2:35 pm
Sun May 11, 2014

Anthem Extends Deadline For Non-Compliant Plans Under ACA

About 10,000 New Hampshire residents whose individual insurance policies don't comply with President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law will get a chance to renew them for another year.  The Obama administration announced a two-year extension in March for noncompliant policies if states and insurance companies allow it.  Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire recently decided to allow the extension, but a company spokesman tells The Associated Press that the extension will be for only year. It will be available for anyone whose policies are due to expire between Oct.

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Health
1:13 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Anthem Says High Percent Of New ACA Customers Paid First Bill

Nearly 90% of the people who signed up for health care through the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire have paid their first month’s bill.

Anthem, the only insurance company in the exchange this year, says roughly 35,000 out of the 40,000 who enrolled through healthcare.gov are paid up.

That's a higher percent than estimates put out by Republican members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. Their report released April 30th stated that just 67% of enrollees nationally had paid their first month’s premium.

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Health
5:21 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Healthcare.gov Appears To Be A Good Deal For States

Credit via RI.gov

New Englanders are a frugal bunch, so they may want to take note that when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, healthcare.gov was more efficient than the state-run exchanges.

A new report out from a former Obama Administration official finds that the cost-per-enrollee was lower in federally-run exchanges than in state-run exchanges.

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Health
6:07 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Enrollment In Obamacare Tops 40,000

More than 40,000 New Hampshire residents enrolled in health plans through the Affordable Care Act, according to new figures out from the federal government.

Nearly half the sign-ups came during a March and April surge, erasing a poor showing in the early months when healthcare.gov was plagued by technical glitches.

Even supporters of the law reacted with surprise to the final tally for the open enrollment period.

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Health
3:35 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Frisbie Hospital Patient Granted Hearing On Anthem's Network

A room at Frisbie Hospital
Credit Via Flickr CC

After several stops and starts, the Insurance Department has agreed to a formal hearing on the adequacy of Anthem’s narrow network of hospitals.

The move stems from a complaint filed by East Rochester resident Margaret McCarthy. She says she’s been aggrieved by Anthem’s decision to exclude Frisbie Memorial Hospital from its network for plans sold through the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
4:54 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

State Awaits Approval Of Medicaid Expansion Plan

The state is bumping up against an intended start date for Medicaid expansion sign-ups.

The bi-partisan plan agreed to earlier this year originally called for a two-month early enrollment period beginning May 1st with coverage starting in July, but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services hasn’t yet signed off on the package.

Governor Hassan says her administration continues to work closely with federal regulators.

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Health
2:38 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Regulators Begin Redraft Of 'Narrow Network' Insurance Rules

Insurance Department Deputy Commissioner Alex Feldvebel during Wednesday's Network Adequacy Working Group.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

The Insurance Department kicked off a series of public meetings on Wednesday looking into network adequacy standards, with a focus on health plans that exclude doctors and hospitals.

Anthem’s ‘narrow network’ plans—the only option available through so-called ObamaCare this year—left out 10 of New Hampshire’s 26 hospitals, forcing some consumers to switch doctors.

The Insurance Department found Anthem’s plans met the current standards for coverage, which take into account the distance patients must travel for care.

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Health
5:21 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Report Citing 90% Rate Increase Under ACA Called Into Question

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is disputing a report that claims a 90% spike in individual premiums under the Affordable Care Act. The report from Morgan Stanley, which has become the latest flashpoint in the political battle over Obamacare, was based on a national survey of insurance brokers.

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The Sidebar
2:13 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

The Sidebar: Hearing To Challenge Anthem's Network Postponed

Frisbie Memorial Hospital
Credit NHPR Staff

The state insurance department has postponed a hearing this week to consider a challenge to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield's network of providers covered under the Affordable Care Act.

Margaret McCarthy, a patient of Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, has asked the department to require Anthem to include Frisbie in the network. 

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Health
4:09 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

With Expansion Coming, Medicaid Enrollment Already Up In New Hampshire

The number of Medicaid enrollees in New Hampshire is up 4% since last October, according to new data from the federal government. More than 133,000 people were enrolled as of February, compared with roughly 127,000 recipients before the launch of the Affordable Care Act.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Mon March 31, 2014

ACA's Deadline Day

Credit Pan-African News Wire Photos / Flickr/CC

Under the Affordable Care act, Monday is the last chance for uninsured Americans to choose a plan or pay a penalty.  We’ll get the latest on New Hampshire enrollments, and other aspects of this law in the Granite State, including the newly signed Medicaid Expansion and new players coming to the state’s insurance market next year.

GUESTS:

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Newscast
1:34 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

State To Hear Complaint Against Anthem ACA Plans

New Hampshire's Insurance Department will hear a complaint about the exclusion of a hospital from the network of providers covered under the Affordable Care Act.   A patient at Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester says Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield's network is inadequate because it does not include Frisbie. Sixteen hospitals are in the network; 10 are not. Anthem has said the "narrow'' network keeps costs down and the state insurance department determined the network meets adequacy standards.    The department previously denied a petition by Frisbie and patient Margaret McCarthy.

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Health
5:41 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

It's Last Call For Health Sign-Ups In New Hampshire

Leigh Niland walks Keene resident John Carland through the process of shopping for health insurance through the exchange.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Time is running out for individuals looking to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. The cut-off to start the sign-up process is March 31st, and unlike previous deadlines, it looks like this one may actually hold.

That’s got John Carland taking the process more seriously.

“I put things off,” says Carland. “I’m a procrastinator. So, I just put it off until I had to do it, I guess.”

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NH News
5:21 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

Incorrect Rates Charged To Smokers With Insurance Policies On The Exchange

Credit DaleKav via Flickr CC

According to the independent investigative journalism outlet ProPublica, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield canceled the health insurance policies of close to 100 New Hampshire smokers who purchased insurance policies on the state's health exchange.  That's because Anthem incorrectly charged them non-smoker rates. 

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Health
5:08 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

New Insurance Company Plans To Offer Full Network Of Hospitals

Massachusetts-based Minuteman Health says New Hampshire’s insurance marketplace is "ripe for disruption."

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