Affordable Care Act

  A company that offers health insurance plans in New Hampshire under the Affordable Care Act is suing the federal government over a part of the health care law. 

When it comes to the issue of religious rights versus no-cost contraception, the only thing the Supreme Court could agree on was not to decide.

In an unsigned opinion issued Monday, the court sent a series of cases back to a raft of federal appeals courts, with instructions for those courts and the parties in the lawsuits to try harder to work things out. "The Court expresses no view on the merits of the cases," the opinion said.

Jan Denton Chua / Flickr/CC

Under the affordable care act, thirty one states, including New Hampshire, opted to expand this health insurance coverage for low-income people.  Now, the legislature is debating how and whether to extend the program.  The House has said yes, but with some controversial conditions. The Senate votes on Thursday.

Steve Smith via Flickr CC

An initial review of whether New Hampshire insurance companies are appropriately covering substance abuse treatment shows significant differences in how often claims are denied, but experts identified problems with only a handful of cases.

The probe comes as New Hampshire seeks to expand treatment and recovery services amid a growing heroin and opioid crisis. The state insurance department began looking into the issue in November after hearing from complaints from providers and advocates, and officials presented their preliminary findings in Concord on Friday.

Taxpayers Confused By Late Health Law Forms

Feb 17, 2016

As the 2015 tax filing season gets underway, tax preparers said a delay in health law tax forms is tripping up some consumers, while others want details about exemptions from increasingly stiff penalties for not having insurance.

Under the law, most people must have health insurance or pay a fine. In 2015, the penalty was $325 per adult and $162.50 per child up to $975, or 2 percent of household income, whichever is greater.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

As the sunset for New Hampshire's Medicaid expansion approaches, state legislators are debating how best, or whether, to extend the program. And while the prospect of dropping 47,000 Granite Staters who receive this coverage is daunting, some lawmakers are worried about how to fund it when federal support decreases.

Garrett Vonk

More people have health insurance in New Hampshire, but they're also paying more for it.  That's according to the Insurance Department's annual report on costs

Primary 2016: Health Care on the Campaign Trail

Jan 6, 2016
Julie Kertesz / Flickr/CC

Health care still a top issue for voters, from the Affordable Care Act to lowering the cost of prescription drugs. And New Hampshire residents have made solving the opioid crisis a national priority. We're looking at where the twenty-sixteen presidential candidates stand.

The deadline to buy health insurance under Obamacare has been extended for two days after high demand clogged the federal government's exchange.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday night, just hours before the original deadline of midnight Dec. 15, that consumers would have 48 hours more to buy a health plan.

Checking Up on the Affordable Care Act in N.H.

Dec 15, 2015
Morgan / Flickr/CC

As another health insurance enrollment period comes to end, the conversation continues about whether or not the affordable care act is working for individuals and employers in the state. We take stock of who's getting insured, what's on the horizon for Medicaid expansion, and whether the economics of the law are bringing down costs as intended. 

 

GUESTS:   

One of the five insurance companies on the federal health exchange in New Hampshire is unexpectedly backing out early this year.

The CEO of Maine-based co-op Community Health Options says costs have simply gotten too high for them to continue. Community Health Options will continue to sell plans for about another week - and it will continue to insure those who have already purchased plans.

jessie owen via flickr Creative Commons

President Obama has signed into law a bill that amends the Affordable Care Act to protect small and mid-size businesses from premium increases.

New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen had introduced the legislation called the Protecting Affordable Coverage for Employees (or PACE) Act along with Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Next year, the definition of state-based small group markets was set to expand from businesses with fewer than 50 employees to 100 employees.

Mike Ledford / Flickr/CC

The US supreme court issues some huge rulings on same-sex marriage and the affordable care act. The shooting deaths of nine black churchgoers in Charleston prompts renewed political discussion of gun control, and the confederate flag. And, the republican presidential field grows ever larger.

Peter Biello / NHPR

While campaigning for the GOP Presidential nomination in Exeter, New Hampshire Thursday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio said he’s disappointed in the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. 

The Supreme Court’s decision will allow people who live in New Hampshire, as well as Senator Rubio’s home state of Florida and 32 other states, to keep their subsidies for healthcare plans purchased through Healthcare.gov. But Rubio says he disagrees with the court’s decision on the law, which he says is deeply flawed.

Jack Rodolico

The state is giving a first look at insurance networks for 2016 under the Affordable Care Act.

Every hospital in the state will be covered by at least two of the insurance plans that will be sold on Healthcare.gov in 2016. There will also be an uptick in the total number of plans over this year.

Jack Rodolico

There’s an upside and a downside to being an independent massage therapist.

Upside: no boss. You work for yourself. Downside: no boss. There’s no employer to provide health insurance.

"So then the Affordable Care Act was coming around," says Rachelle Lowe, a masseuse in Concord, "what I found was it wasn’t as affordable as I thought. And the deductibles are outrageous, so at this time I’m still not insured."

The Obama Administration has opened a special enrollment period for health insurance through the federal exchange.

The federal government is betting people who did not sign up for insurance last year are now noticing they will be paying a penalty on their 2014 taxes, which are due next month.

So the hope is by opening up a special enrollment period, those same folks will buy policies so they will not have another penalty on their 2015 taxes.

More people signed up this year for insurance through Healthcare.gov than last year. But that news comes the same day the federal government announced it accidentally sent incorrect tax information to 800,000 people who purchased plans on the website.

In New Hampshire, 52,944 residents bought insurance through the federal exchange during the enrollment period that ended this past Sunday. That’s about 13,000 more than last year.

This weekend marks the last chance for Granite Staters to sign up for insurance through Healthcare.gov.

To avoid a tax penalty, people have to purchase a plan with a starting date of March 1 by this Sunday.

Jayne Navarro, a patient navigator at Manchester Community Health Center, says she’s had steady traffic through her office for the past few weeks.

"People are now really understanding – especially now coming tax season – the importance of being able to take care of this," says Navarro.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A legislative committee overseeing implementation of the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire may be taking on new duties.

State Sen. Jeb Bradley, a Republican from Wolfeboro, is sponsoring a bill to increase the powers of the joint health care reform oversight committee to include the state's newly-expanded Medicaid program. The bill would require the committee to provide oversight, policy direction and recommendations for legislation.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Hassan Holds Medicaid Expansion Kick-Off Event

Jun 30, 2014
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.

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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