Health providers, small business owners and reform advocates attended a brainstorming session in Concord on Friday. State Insurance Department officials organized the event, seeking input on how best to implement the new health exchange in New Hampshire.
A range of ideas were offered, from social media campaigns to informational events at hardware stores to old-fashioned word of mouth. Participants stressed a need to reach all communities, including minority and non-English speaking groups, and to do so quickly.
State officials continue to press for action on $340,000 in federal money meant to help implement the health exchange in New Hampshire.
Speaking to the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee, Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny repeated the need for quick acceptance of the grant money. Last month, a different legislative body, the Joint Fiscal Committee, delayed the funds, citing concerns over a lack of information.
Sevigny says the money would help "put flesh on the bones" of his Department's effort to help consumers understand the new health law.
A committee advising New Hampshire on implementing the federal health overhaul law is urging state lawmakers to move quickly in accepting federal money intended for consumer assistance and outreach.
The Health Exchange Advisory Board, whose members represent consumers, health care providers, insurers and businesses, drafted a letter Friday saying that timely, effective outreach will be impossible unless the Legislature accepts the money.
The new health exchanges are often described as something akin to Orbitz or Travelocity. A central place--a website--where insurance can be researched, compared, and purchased.
“Competition in markets, of course, is the way in this country we try to make reasonable prices and good quality available to people and so that is one of their roles,” says Professor Timothy Jost with Washington and Lee University in Virginia.
Jost says another key role of the exchanges is subsidies.
As part of the Affordable Care Act, pharmaceutical company payments to doctors will become public information starting in 2014. But a slice of those disclosures is already available, and the impact of transparency is being felt across New Hampshire.
In the last four years, New Hampshire doctors and nurse practitioners have taken in $5.8 million in money from drug companies.
But in 2012, for the highest earning doctors, there was a noticeable decline. In fact, every one of the top 10 recipients in the state saw his or her total compensation go down or hold flat last year.
A report out today estimates that 96,000 New Hampshire residents will be eligible for health insurance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. The credits will be available starting in January, 2014, when the individual mandate kicks in.
Governor Maggie Hassan announced today the creation of a new Commission to monitor the transition of the state’s Medicaid program to a managed care model.
The 11-person body includes public health experts, advocates for the disabled, doctors, as well as Donald Shumway, former Commissioner of DHHS, who will co-chair the group along with Mary Vallier-Kaplan.
With an October 1st deadline looming, the state continues to move forward with implementation of a partnership health exchange. In agreeing to that partnership, state Republicans say they were promised input on a planning document called a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU.
But last week, the Feds said partner states don’t have to submit an MOU. Republicans say that shuts them out of the legislative process.
On Thursday, the New Hampshire State Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill that’s getting a lot of attention in the dental community. The measure would expand the role of some hygienists. Advocates say this could help increase access in the state, but dentists argue it’s a misguided solution for a problem that may not exist.