Health Care

 New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny encourages people to do their research and seek help from navigators for enrollment in the Affordable Care Act for 2018.

Sevigny acknowledged the uncertainty for certain consumers when the President and the Republican-controlled Congress continue to knock “Obamacare.”

Another challenge is the shortened enrollment period; Dec. 15 is the deadline this year.

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November 1st marks the start of the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act. This is the window where people who purchase their own health insurance can shop for and select a plan for 2018. There is no shortage of confusion concerning ObamaCare, including what’s changed and what hasn’t. NHPR’s Todd Bookman joins All Things Considered Host Peter Biello to discuss open enrollment in New Hampshire.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

The hospitals will keep their respective names on the building. Employees and patients won’t see any immediate changes. But six months after announcing their intentions to collaborate, Elliot Health System and Southern New Hampshire Health are combining forces under a new umbrella group called SolutionHealth, creating a nearly 500-bed regional health care system, one of the largest in the state.

Updated at 11:29 a.m. ET

President Trump's decision Thursday to end subsidy payments to health insurance companies is expected to raise premiums for middle-class families and cost the federal government hundreds of billions of dollars.

An analyst hired by the state to study trends in its insurance markets told lawmakers on Wednesday that people who receive subsidies to help pay for coverage on the individual market are likely to pay about the same — maybe even less — for coverage next year, on average. But people who don’t receive subsidies could see an average increase of 52 percent.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

Democratic New Hampshire Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan are holding a news conference to highlight what they call the "devastating impact" that the latest GOP health care bill would have on state residents.

The senators say there are provisions that would make health insurance unaffordable for millions. They want Republicans to instead restart bipartisan negotiations on health care.

They're holding a news conference at the Elliot Hospital in Manchester on Monday morning.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

Sen. John McCain may, once again, be the savior of President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement.

The Arizona Republican announced in a statement on Friday that he opposes the latest GOP legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Thomas Fearon

The Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services is preparing for a new role: CEO of New Hampshire Hospital. But it won’t be Shibinette’s first time working there.

One of her first jobs out of nursing school was as a charge nurse and relief shift supervisor, working primarily with geriatric patients at Thayer Building, part of the hospital campus.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Community health centers in New Hampshire — and nationwide – are bracing for the possible loss of millions of dollars in federal funding if Congress doesn’t take action by the end of this month.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price made a quick trip to New Hampshire Thursday afternoon to announce $200 million in federal grants targeting community health centers, to increase access to mental health and opioid abuse services.

 

The Manchester VA Medical Center has appointed a 12-member task force to make recommendations on the future of New Hampshire’s only veterans hospital.

The appointments were the latest step toward reform since the Boston Globe reported in July on a whistleblower complaint, which described a fly-infested operating room, surgical instruments that weren’t always sterilized and patients whose conditions were ignored.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Senator Jeanne Shaheen joined a growing list of Democrats who are co-sponsoring a national single-payer health insurance plan put forward by Vermont’s Bernie Sanders.

The 2016 Presidential candidate has long championed universal health coverage, including efforts in his home state to pass a government-run program.

Sanders' latest national effort is garnering the support of at least fifteen Democratic Senators, though the bill stands little chance of passing in the GOP-controlled legislature.

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It's looking like New Hampshire customers buying individual plans on the state's health insurance exchange will have their choice of three carriers next year: Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim and Ambetter. 

 A company that provides health insurance under "Obamacare" and through New Hampshire's expanded Medicaid program is confirming its decision to continue its participation in the tumultuous individual market.

Ambetter by NH Healthy Families covers 77,100 Medicaid and health insurance marketplace members. The company said Thursday it will remain in the market for 2018 and is committed to working with state officials to stabilize the market and offer affordable options.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is asking President Donald Trump to take several steps to promote stability in the national health care marketplace until reform is achieved.

In a letter to Trump dated Wednesday, the Republican governor says for the sake of those who aren't able to have employer-based health insurance, and for those who pay the full premium without subsidies, the president should urge Congress to reform "Obamacare" with a clear roadmap and path forward.

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Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny says he can’t remember another time when trying to map out New Hampshire insurance markets was quite as tricky as it is today.

“This kind of uncertainty is unprecedented,” Sevigny said Tuesday, when asked to put this year’s marketplace planning into context. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu said he was “incredibly disappointed” after Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act came to a halt late Thursday night in Washington.

elliothospital.org

At the first of two public forums Wednesday night in Manchester, the heads of Elliot and Southern New Hampshire Health Systems took questions on what their proposed partnership would mean for patients, staff and the region's healthcare landscape.

elliothospital.org

The public will have a first chance this week to talk face-to-face with leaders of Southern New Hampshire Health and Elliot Health System about their plans to create a new regional hospital system.

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. 

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.

Governor Chris Sununu on The Exchange

Jul 7, 2017

Today on The Exchange, Governor Chris Sununu sits down with Laura for the full hour to give his take on several topics, including national health care reform and its possible impact on the Granite State.

Also up for discussion: the state's continuing opioids crisis, including the high number of overdoses in June. And we'll hear from the Governor on so-called "Keno-garten," the expansion of kindergarten with money from the Keno electronic game of chance. 


Work requirements under the federal health insurance program Medicaid are based on a simple premise: If you want to receive government assistance for your healthcare and you’re able to work, you should work.

Britta Greene / NHPR

Staff at the Newport Health Center shared their concerns about the Senate healthcare bill with New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan Wednesday. 

The center provides people in the Newport area with basic healthcare, including primary and pre-natal care, x-rays and lab services. After a quick tour, Sen. Hassan sat down with administrators and staffers to discuss the current healthcare debate. No one voiced support for the Republican plan, but many criticized the current system. 

Governor Chris Sununu says he remains committed to reforming Obamacare but opposes the plan proposed by Senate Republican leaders.

The governor's opposition comes as the Senate's top Republican says he is pushing off a scheduled vote on the Senate's version of the bill.

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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Sununu says his staff is reviewing the US Senate’s version of the health care reform bill, made public Thursday.

As the Senate released the bill, Sununu published a letter to Congressional leadership along with New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Chuck Morse and House Speaker Shawn Jasper.  

elliothospital.org

The last few years have seen a wave of consolidations in New Hampshire healthcare. Now, Southern New Hampshire Health and Elliot Hospital are looking at forming a new “regional healthcare system” — though the details of what, exactly, that partnership might look like are still unclear.

Crotched Mountain Foundation

Crotched Mountain Foundation's board voted Monday to close its longtime specialty hospital in Greenfield, likely by the end of August.

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.

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