Affordable Care Act

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. 

istock photo

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.

josh rogers/nhpr

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.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

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.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

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. 


Pexels

The "marketplace," where Americans can shop for and purchase insurance from a network of companies, was created with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act several years ago. It has since provided coverage to twelve million Americans, but it's been largely unprofitable for insurers.  And so, most companies plan to hike rates later this fall - with huge impacts on both patients and politics. 

  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.

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