4:14 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Federal Grant To Market Health Law Again Delayed

A flawed bid process is further delaying efforts to market the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire, as the group in charge of awarding a $2 million contract has decided to reopen its application process.

The New Hampshire Health Plan committee voted 3-2 to award the contract to an unnamed vendor on October 9, but the group, for reasons left unstated in meeting minutes, then decided not to finalize that recommendation.

New Hampshire Health Plan Executive Director Michael Degnan wouldn’t go into detail, but says the committee was divided.

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4:00 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Narrow Network Insurance Plans Could Spark New Regulations

Michael Justice and his wife Chris in front of their Peterborough home.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

When Michael Justice was laid off from a local college last year, he lost a job he liked, a paycheck he needed and an insurance plan he relied on.

At 63, he’s now buying a policy to cover him and his wife. The bill every month is $1,638.

“It’s more than we pay for mortgage, its more than we pay on property taxes, which in New Hampshire is saying a bit,” says Justice. “It’s more than we pay for heating oil, more than we pay for electricity, more than we pay for water.”

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4:42 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Commission Finalizes Plan That Supports Medicaid Expansion In N.H.

Senator Nancy Stiles working with a consultant on the final version of the Medicaid Expansion Commission report.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Brushing up against its October 15th deadline, on Tuesday a special commission studying a possible expansion of Medicaid in New Hampshire finalized its recommendations.

This was the final meeting of a nine-member group that spent the summer debating if and how to expand Medicaid to more low income residents.

While the issue still proves divisive, the commission did find common ground accepting the contents of the final report, voting unanimously to send it to the Governor and legislative leaders.

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5:08 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Signing Up On Insurance Marketplace Delivers More Errors Than Results

We've heard a lot about the new health insurance exchanges (A.K.A. marketplaces) since they launched this month. What follows is a blog of my attempts to navigate New Hampshire's marketplace. So far, it's been an error-ridden process with recurring visits to a virtual waiting room.

Day 1: October 1st

11:15 a.m.

Creating an account. 

Using Google Chrome browser, I go to I click log in at the top right corner of the first screen.

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10:06 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Medicaid Expansion Plan Approved By Commission

New Hampshire is one of just a handful of states that hasn’t yet answered the Medicaid expansion question. Remember, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the federal health law last summer, it said Washington could not force states to expand their  Medicaid programs that provides health care to the poor. States, instead, must be given a choice.

And so, for the better part of three months now, a special commission has been studying whether to add 50,000 more low income individuals to the program.

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6:57 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Medicaid Commission To Vote Next Week On Recommendation

Members of the special commission studying whether to expand Medicaid in New Hampshire continue to hash out their differences in the face of a looming deadline.

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3:39 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Marketplace Navigator: Experience Without Health Insurance Drew Me To Job

Jaime Chabot, left, and Mariann White, right, are marketplace navigators for Planned Parent of Northern New England. They will be working directly with patients to help them enroll.
Credit NHPR / Michael Brindley

Open enrollment began today for the New Hampshire health insurance marketplace.

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2:14 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

11K Enrolled For Medicaid Managed Care, More Than 100K To Go

State health officials say 11,000 people have signed up for Medicaid managed care since the open enrollment period launched a little more than two weeks ago.

The Department of Health and Human Services has scheduled a series of forums to help others sign up.

Medicaid recipients were given until late November to select from one of three out-of-state companies to manage their health care plans starting in December.

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5:23 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Could A Diagnosis Make You Sicker? Dartmouth Examines Overdiagnosis

The Preventing Overdiagnosis Conference at Dartmouth
Liz Faiella

Researchers at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice have been at the forefront of research on unnecessary diagnosis and treatment.

The problem is big, and solving it may require a major change in the way the whole health system treats illness.

Earlier this month, Dartmouth hosted the first ever international conference on preventing overdiagnosis.

Speaking to a crowd of doctors at the Preventing Overdiagnosis conference, Dr. Steven Woloshin began by diagnosing his audience.

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3:10 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Lowering Insurance Costs Like 'Turning A Battleship'

N.H. Insurance Department Commissioner Roger Sevigny
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

 Insurance company executives told regulators on Thursday there’s no quick fix for the rising cost of health care in the state.

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5:30 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

N.H. Marketplace Will Have Lower Prices, But Fewer Choices, Than Neighbors

National average does not include Massachusetts, Hawaii, or Kentucky, where rate information isn't yet available.

A new report from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services provides a snapshot of premium prices for health plans sold in the new marketplaces. When they launch October 1, individuals will be able to comparison shop for plans in their state's marketplace and apply for subsidies meant to make insurance more affordable.

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5:28 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

No Paul Bunyan, But Health Law Education Efforts Ramp Up In State

The Fuller Public Library in Hillsborough hosts book groups, a story hour for preschoolers, and the occasional knitting workshop.

Also on the calendar this month? An hour-long presentation on the Affordable Care Act.

“Tonight, this is probably going to feel like you are drinking from  a fire hose,” says Kelly Clark, State Director for AARP New Hampshire.

She runs through a slide show for a group of about two dozen residents. It touches on all the main points of the law: the exchanges, the mandates, subsidies, and Medicaid.

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2:50 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Sen. Shaheen Says Health Law Already Having Positive Impact

Senator Shaheen speaking in Concord on Monday. She calls the law "the single biggest advancement for women's health, really, in my lifetime."
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

  At an event organized by the New Hampshire Women’s Health Network and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Senator Shaheen praised the law as the single biggest advancement in women’s health in her lifetime.

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4:59 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Anthem Tells Senators It Likely Won't Add More Hospitals To Narrow Network

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield CEO Lisa Guertin answered questions in Concord on Wednesday.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

New Hampshire Senators expressed frustration with Anthem Blue Cross on Wednesday about the insurance products they plan to sell in the new health marketplaces. 

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