Health

Health
2:28 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Marijuana Use Among N.H. Teens Above National Average

New Hampshire teens use marijuana at one of the highest rates in the country, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services.

It finds that one in ten minors between the ages of 12 and 17 say they’ve smoked marijuana in the past 30 days. That’s the 9th highest rate in the country, and a full two-percentage points above the U.S. average. The figures are based on a 2012 national survey.

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Health
6:12 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

N.H. Veterans Face Stigma Over Mental Health Treatment

Major General Bill Reddel of the N.H. National Guard
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

A new report finds New Hampshire veterans face stigma and a complicated health system when seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

The findings come from a Commission created by the state legislature to investigate barriers to care and treatment of PTSD and TBI for the state’s 115,000 veterans.

The Commission, which is composed of military and civilian leaders, surveyed 1,100 vets. Thirty percent responded they weren’t getting the help they needed because of stigma over their mental health needs.

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Health
4:56 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Anthem Gives Customers More Time To Pay First Bill

Customers who bought health insurance in the new exchange are getting more time to pay their first month’s bill. Anthem Blue Cross says New Hampshire consumers who signed up before the deadline for coverage starting January 1st now have until the end of the month to pay their first month’s premium. The deadline was originally today.

Last week the company’s president acknowledged that many new customers still hadn’t received their insurance ID cards and that a help line was overwhelmed with calls.

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Health
4:16 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

N.H. Enrollment In ACA Marketplace Plans Tops 11,000

Credit Data: U.S. Health and Human Services

After a slow start, December saw a surge in the number of New Hampshire residents shopping for health insurance on the new exchange. The federal government reports nearly 10,000 consumers in the state selected a plan between Dec. 1 and Dec. 28.

In total, about 11,500 people selected a plan during the first three months of open enrollment, which runs through March 31. 

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Health
5:57 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

New Session, New Medicaid Expansion Debate In Concord

Credit Sean Marshall via Flickr CC

Lawmakers returned to Concord Wednesday, and House Democrats wasted no time passing a bill to expand the state’s Medicaid program.

Their latest Medicaid plan, which was tacked onto a different bill they’d planned to kill, would send some newly eligible recipients into the exchange for coverage, but not until 2017.  

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Health
3:16 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Democrats Continue Push For Quick Action On Medicaid Expansion

The past few weeks served as a cooling off period after last November’s special legislative session failed to produce a deal on Medicaid expansion between the Democratically-held House and GOP-controlled Senate. 

The debate will roar back to life on Wednesday, though, when Democrats in the House say they’ll tack an expansion plan onto an unrelated bill.

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Health
4:09 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Teens Having Harder Time Buying Tobacco

Credit Justin Shearer / Flickr Creative Commons

 Illegal sales of tobacco to minors in New Hampshire dipped in 2013, as more retailers in the state refused underage customers.

The Department of Health and Human Services, along with Division of Liquor staff members, sent underage buyers into more than 300 retailers around the state. Roughly 89% of vendors turned away sales, up two percent from 2012.

State public health director Jose Montero says convenience store clerks aren’t the only ones who can protect children.

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Health
5:00 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Proposed Bill Seeks To Keep More Medical Decisions Out Of The Courts

New Hampshire could soon have a new system for determining who gets to make medical decisions on behalf of patients who lack the ability to do it themselves.

A bi-partisan group of lawmakers, including Democratic Senator Peggy Gilmour, are pushing a bill that creates what’s called a surrogate decision-maker system.

“I think people assume that, for instance, I could speak for my husband,” says Gilmour. “Or, one of my children could speak for me. But that’s just not the case.”

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Health
5:00 am
Tue December 24, 2013

New Website Wants To Tackle Your Health Law Questions

New Hampshire consumers looking for information about the health law can now turn to a local website.

CoveringNewHampshire.org bills itself as the gateway for the health insurance marketplace. Browsers can learn about the law, use an online calculator to see if they qualify for tax credits, and window-shop the 11 different insurance plans Anthem is offering through the Affordable Care Act.

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Health
6:33 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

State Agrees To $30 Million Settlement In Mental Health Lawsuit

The state of New Hampshire has agreed to settle a major class-action lawsuit over its treatment of residents with serious mental illness.

Under the terms of the agreement announced Thursday, the state will spend an additional $30 million on expanding services for the strained mental health system over the next 4 years. 

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Health
3:39 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Profits, Prices Up In New Hampshire Health Insurance Market

Anthem continues to dominate New Hampshire's insurance market.
Credit N.H. Insurance Department '2012 Medical Cost Drivers Report'

A new report finds health care costs in the state continue to rise, even as New Hampshire residents visit doctors less often.

The Insurance Department’s annual report, based on 2012 rates, finds average premiums were up just about 1% from the year before. But Tyler Brannen, an analyst with the Department, says those premium dollars are actually buying consumers less coverage.

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Health
4:15 am
Wed December 18, 2013

HIV In New Hampshire: A Problem For 'Over There'

Three decades after the start of a global epidemic, roughly 35 million people are living with HIV worldwide, and more than a million in the United States. New Hampshire maintains one of the lowest rates of infection in the country, but stigma and misinformation about the virus persist locally.

As an AIDS outreach worker with Dartmouth Hitchcock in Nashua, Jean Adie works against those forces.  

She acts out a typical interaction:

“Jeez, you know, you’re having unprotected sex. When was the last time you were tested?” she’ll ask.

“Oh, I’ve never been tested.”

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Health
11:23 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Two States, Two Approaches To The Affordable Care Act

Credit Via U.S. Digital Maps Archive

While the Affordable Care Act is a federal law, it’s playing out very differently across the states. In New Hampshire, strong opposition from Republican lawmakers and a lack of competition between insurance companies has marred the roll out advocates had hoped for.

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Health
5:15 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

More Competition Coming To New Hampshire's Insurance Market

 Consumers will have more health insurance options in New Hampshire starting in 2015. Massachusetts-based non-profit Minuteman Health says it plans to compete in the state’s exchange with a wide network of hospitals.

CEO Tom Policelli says his company has already begun talks with many of the state’s providers.

“We believe that we can come into New Hampshire and offer a much more broad network than Anthem has, and still deliver an excellent price point, and that’s what we intend to do,” says Policelli.

Anthem is the only company selling products in 2014.

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Health
5:05 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Frisbie Memorial Hospital Denied Hearing Against 'Narrow Network'

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is denying a complaint filed by Frisbie Memorial Hospital over its exclusion from Anthem’s provider network for individual policies.

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