Affordable Care Act

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After several years of instability, the same three companies plan to continue offering health insurance in New Hampshire next year through the marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.

NHPR File Photo

In a swift vote with no floor debate, the New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a plan to continue the state's Medicaid expansion for at least another two and a half years — and potentially as long as five.

The relatively smooth path for the Medicaid expansion bill this time around marks a stark contrast from past years, when the issue drew much more prolonged and partisan debate. The inclusion of a work requirement and a new funding scheme to avoid using state tax dollars helped to win over more Republicans this time around.

In new guidelines released by the Trump Administration, states including New Hampshire will now be allowed to impose work requirements on some recipients of Medicaid.

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Two New Hampshire hospitals will receive less Medicare reimbursement next year due to relatively high rates of patient injuries and infections.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government penalizes hospitals that have high rates of what are considered preventable hospital-acquired injuries, such as infections or bed sores.

Twenty-thousand people who have insurance through Minuteman Health are getting more time to pick new plans.

Minuteman announced in June that it would stop offering plans in 2018. Current members were initially told they should choose a new plan through healthcare.gov during the Nov. 1 through Dec. 15 open enrollment period, but the federal government on Monday said they have been granted more time. Those who want more time should indicate on the website that they are selecting a plan through special enrollment, and then will have until March 1.

 New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny encourages people to do their research and seek help from navigators for enrollment in the Affordable Care Act for 2018.

Sevigny acknowledged the uncertainty for certain consumers when the President and the Republican-controlled Congress continue to knock “Obamacare.”

Another challenge is the shortened enrollment period; Dec. 15 is the deadline this year.

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Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act began on Wednesday, but consumers are more confused than ever given the uncertainty over healthcare policy in Washington this past year.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department will host its annual public hearing on health insurance premiums and medical care cost drivers Friday at the UNH School of Law in Concord.

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November 1st marks the start of the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act. This is the window where people who purchase their own health insurance can shop for and select a plan for 2018. There is no shortage of confusion concerning ObamaCare, including what’s changed and what hasn’t. NHPR’s Todd Bookman joins All Things Considered Host Peter Biello to discuss open enrollment in New Hampshire.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: September 22, 2017

Sep 22, 2017

The Graham-Cassidy healthcare proposal receives mixed response in the Granite State. Community college officials are grilled by New Hampshire lawmakers concerned about a recent audit.  And V.A. whistle blowers raise concerns about continued problems at the facility.


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It's looking like New Hampshire customers buying individual plans on the state's health insurance exchange will have their choice of three carriers next year: Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim and Ambetter. 

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Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny says he can’t remember another time when trying to map out New Hampshire insurance markets was quite as tricky as it is today.

“This kind of uncertainty is unprecedented,” Sevigny said Tuesday, when asked to put this year’s marketplace planning into context. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu said he was “incredibly disappointed” after Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act came to a halt late Thursday night in Washington.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Senator Maggie Hassan met with health care leaders in Exeter Monday to talk about the need for a bipartisan plan forward in Washington--and to criticize President Trump for his handling of the health care issue.

Standing in the glass atrium of Exeter Hospital, the first-term Democrat did not mince words about what she sees as the flaws in the Republican approach to health policy. 

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The New Hampshire Insurance Department is seeking a federal waiver aimed at lowering the price of health insurance for next year’s Obamacare plans, but Governor Chris Sununu opposes part of the Department’s idea for how to do it.

The GOP's latest proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act hews closely to the earlier bill that didn't win enough support among lawmakers to bring to a vote.

Perhaps the biggest change in the document released Thursday is that it leaves in place the Affordable Care Act taxes on wealthy individuals. It uses that money to reduce the number of people left without insurance coverage by the law's changes. This latest version adds $70 billion to a fund for states — bringing the total to $132 billion — to help support coverage of low-income people.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

U.S. Senate Republican leaders unveiled their new health care bill Thursday. The Senate is scheduled to vote on it next week, but they don’t plan to hold any public hearings on the proposal. 

New Hampshire’s U.S. Senators say that’s why they decided to have their own public hearing Friday in Concord.

Minuteman Health, Inc. announced that it will no longer sell insurance policies in New Hampshire as of January 1, 2018.

The Massachusetts-based non-profit, created as a co-op through the Affordable Care Act, has sold policies in each of the last three years through the health insurance exchange, and earlier this spring, submitted an application to New Hampshire regulators to again do so in 2018.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

New Hampshire Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan are holding what they're calling an emergency field hearing on the Republican health care bill.

That hearing is slated for Friday at 2 p.m. at the UNH School of Law in Concord.

The Democratic Senators say they want to hear from Granite Staters about the legislation, the details of which were released earlier today.

According to the Associated Press, the bill would cut Medicaid, end penalties for people not buying insurance, and eliminate several tax increases.

Despite uncertainty over the Affordable Care Act and the GOP’s plan to replace it, four insurers have filed initial applications to sell policies next year in New Hampshire’s marketplace.

Ben Henry

Healthcare professionals on Friday expressed concerns to Senator Jeanne Shaheen that healthcare reform will hurt New Hampshire's veterans.

The panel of experts and veterans said the American Health Care Act would weaken support veterans receive for physical disabilities, PTSD, and substance abuse treatment. Cutting funds now will only lead to costlier treatments down the road, panelists worried. 

In light of these concerns, Shaheen said Congress shouldn’t try to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but fix the parts that aren’t working.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

New Hampshire’s United States Senators are criticizing the health care legislation passed by the House last week, saying it would undercut efforts to curb the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Speaking in Concord Monday, Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan criticized the American Health Care Act for its elimination of the Medicaid expansion program.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen held several public events in the state Thursday. She started the day in Durham and ended it at a town hall in Nashua where residents’ concerns focused on uncertainty in Washington.

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Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan were joined by heath care providers, hospital officials and a recovery advocate as the railed against what they called Trumpcare during a visit to Concord Hopital. Shaheen said based on her review of the GOP bill, the prognosis for New Hampshire is grim.

"It will be a real disaster for people in New Hampshire. It will result in higher healthcare costs and less coverage."

Alex Proimos via Flickr CC

During his speech to Congress Tuesday night, President Donald Trump reiterated his criticism of the Affordable Care Act, calling the health care law a “disaster.”  

"Obamacare is collapsing, and we must act decisively to protect all Americans. Action is not a choice, it is a necessity," said Trump.

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Senator Jeb Bradley says New Hampshire’s approach to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has been a success, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be improved.

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Following promises made during the campaign, Republicans are taking steps to repeal the Affordable Care Act. What will replace the health care law, and which provisions will be spared, is still very much a question in Washington. In New Hampshire, that’s causing unease for many in the substance abuse treatment community.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

The federal government released data today on the impacts of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire.

The big picture is the uninsured rate in New Hampshire is down 43 percent since before the law went into effect. That means 63,000 people have gained coverage in the state through the Affordable Care Act.

About two-thirds of the newly insured bought coverage through Healthcare.gov, and the rest have signed up for the state's expanded Medicaid program, which provides insurance for low-income people.

PEXELS

The federal government says more than 10,000 Granite Staters signed up for insurance on Healthcare.gov in the first four weeks of open enrollment.

A total of 10,554 New Hampshire residents signed up for health insurance during open enrollment between November 1 and November 26, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Over that same period, more than 2.1 million across 39 states have bought coverage on the federal website. A quarter of those are new enrollees, while the rest were renewing their coverage. 

The federal government has said no to New Hampshire's attempt to make Medicaid recipients prove they're working, or a so-called work requirement.

When the state legislature re-authorized expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in 2015, there was a catch: Republicans pushed for a rule that would require Medicaid recipients to prove they were employed or looking for work, a measure that needed federal approval.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup - October 28, 2016

Oct 28, 2016

It's a battleground in New Hampshire for presidential candidates, and certainly down-ballot.  We've got ten days left of political ads, and new Obamacare numbers:  premiums will rise in New Hampshire, but by far less than almost anywhere else. 


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