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.
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.
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.
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.
Anthem Blue Cross says it’s extending the renewal date for canceled health insurance plans to December 16.
Last month, the company sent cancelation notices to 22,000 New Hampshire customers because current plans didn’t satisfy stricter new protections in the Affordable Care Act. Customers looking to renew originally had until November 15 to start the process, though that deadline was pushed back to December 1. Today's announcement gives policyholders an additional two weeks.
Richard Polonsky is an organizational consultant, and can, if prompted, easily talk like one.
“Being an outsider to an organization, I think people tend to listen to you more than when you are part of the organizational structure,” says Polonsky.
Based in Bedford, he has spent a career advising companies and non-profits on big campaigns. It’s a role Polonsky excels in: working from the outside, thinking strategically, and being blunt with management.
But as an independent contractor, he never received the same health benefits employees could access.
Much has been made of the changes introduced, with the passing of the Affordable Care Act, to the health care markets, but many still struggle to understand how they will be personally affected.
While only making up 3.5% of New Hampshire's overall market, the individual market is seeing the greatest level of upheaval, with the addition of the newly insured, the merging of the high-risk pools, changes to the small group market, shifting premiums, changing benefits, and federal subsidies.
The graphic below aims to make sense of many of the changes happening in the individual market. [Click to view full size]
The New Hampshire Insurance Department wants to keep open a program that provides health coverage for 2,750 residents with pre-existing conditions. The $45-million high risk pool operated by the New Hampshire Health Plan was set to close at year’s end.
Since health insurance companies can no longer deny people because of pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act, state-run high risk pools around the country are winding down.
Anthem Blue Cross says it’s extending the renewal date for customers who buy individual policies. The state’s largest health insurance company informed brokers earlier this week that current policyholders who want to keep their plans will have until the end of the month to renew, a two week extension from the original deadline of November 15.
Governor Maggie Hassan made an appearance in Hampton on Friday morning at the public library. There, she called on Republicans in the Senate to come to an agreement with Democrats on how to expand Medicaid.
Hassan began with her now familiar pitch for expanding Medicaid to more low-income people. Her choice of Hampton, however, was no coincidence. The Governor had come to the hometown of Republican Senator Nancy Stiles with a message for the Senator: