Health Insurance

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: August 18, 2017

Aug 17, 2017

Continued fallout and reactions to events in Charlottesville, VA, dominate the headlines this week. New Hampshire politicians respond to the President’s ambiguous statements on white supremacy. And yes, there are white supremacists here in New Hampshire. 

In other news, the federal government says New Hampshire's Medicaid funding mechanism might be illegal. Manchester is considering filing its own lawsuit against an opioid company for its alleged role in the state opioid crisis.


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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. 

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: August 4, 2017

Aug 4, 2017

President Trump called New Hampshire a "drug-infested den," according to a transcript published by the Washington Post, and that's spurring strong reactions from local politicians and advocates alike.

Lawmakers and public officials are concerned about the health of the individual health insurance marketplace in New Hampshire, as rates are projected to increase significantly in the next year.

The Manchester VA gets a visit from U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin after whistle blowers alleged terrible conditions in the medical center.

And the state women's prison project has been delayed again. We'll cover these stories and more. 


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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. 

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After failing to make a decision one way or another last week, a small group of state legislators could weigh in today on whether to give an initial green light to a plan from the New Hampshire Insurance Department meant to help prevent steep rate increases.

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The New Hampshire Insurance Department is seeking a federal waiver aimed at lowering the price of health insurance for next year’s Obamacare plans, but Governor Chris Sununu opposes part of the Department’s idea for how to do it.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: March 10, 2017

Mar 9, 2017

The N.H. legislature had a full calendar this week, debating changes to the state’s election laws, transgender rights and marijuana decriminalization.  N.H.'s congressional delegation reacts to President Trump's revised travel ban, and assesses the impact in  N.H, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions makes a surprise visit to an N.H. youth summit on opioid abuse.


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The New Hampshire Insurance Department released the findings of a study Thursday that takes a look at how insurance companies are handling drug and alcohol abuse treatment claims.

The study, which examines the insurers Cigna, Anthem, and Harvard Pilgrim, was intended, in part, to determine if they were complying with federal parity law. In other words, do the companies provide comparable coverage for mental health, substance use disorders, and medical and surgical care?

  A company that offers health insurance plans in New Hampshire under the Affordable Care Act is suing the federal government over a part of the health care law. 

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New Hampshire has joined a nationwide effort to block the proposed merger of Anthem and Cigna, the state’s two largest health insurers.

New Hampshire is one of a dozen states that have signed on to a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice, challenging Anthem’s plans to purchase Cigna for $54 billion. The suit alleges the merger would reduce competition for millions of Americans who receive health insurance from their employers or through the Affordable Care Act.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

As the sunset for New Hampshire's Medicaid expansion approaches, state legislators are debating how best, or whether, to extend the program. And while the prospect of dropping 47,000 Granite Staters who receive this coverage is daunting, some lawmakers are worried about how to fund it when federal support decreases.

Checking Up on the Affordable Care Act in N.H.

Dec 15, 2015
Morgan / Flickr/CC

As another health insurance enrollment period comes to end, the conversation continues about whether or not the affordable care act is working for individuals and employers in the state. We take stock of who's getting insured, what's on the horizon for Medicaid expansion, and whether the economics of the law are bringing down costs as intended. 

 

GUESTS:   

One of the five insurance companies on the federal health exchange in New Hampshire is unexpectedly backing out early this year.

The CEO of Maine-based co-op Community Health Options says costs have simply gotten too high for them to continue. Community Health Options will continue to sell plans for about another week - and it will continue to insure those who have already purchased plans.

Healthcare.gov Opens: More Options, Higher Prices

Nov 1, 2015
healthcare.gov

Healthcare.gov opens for business Sunday. This year there are more insurance plans available on the federal website for New Hampshire residents.

Army Medicine / Flickr CC

Whether they have insurance or not, many Americans have trouble affording dental care. This leaves many adults -and children- forgoing needed dental care that leads to bigger health problems down the road. But  medical research and many doctors are promoting the idea that insurance for oral health should not be separated from general health insurance, setting the stage for potential reforms to the way we treat the health of our teeth.

Mergers Shrink New Hampshire Insurance Market

Jul 24, 2015

The number of health insurers in New Hampshire shrank by one this morning with the news that the state’s two largest players, Anthem and Cigna, have agreed to merge in a deal worth more than $48 billion.

dbking / Flickr Creative Commons

The United States Supreme Court is expected to decide a case this month that could be do or die for President Obama’s signature healthcare law. At issue are the subsidies available to people who purchase insurance plans on Healthcare.gov, also called the healthcare exchange. New Hampshire is one of 36 states using this federally-operated insurance marketplace, and if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiff in the case, about 30,000 people in New Hampshire may see their subsidies disappear.

Jack Rodolico

The state is giving a first look at insurance networks for 2016 under the Affordable Care Act.

Every hospital in the state will be covered by at least two of the insurance plans that will be sold on Healthcare.gov in 2016. There will also be an uptick in the total number of plans over this year.

Vermont’s online health insurance exchange has been beset with problems since its launch a year and a half ago. In a surprise announcement on Friday, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Vermont will abandon Vermont Health Connect if it doesn’t start working properly soon.

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A survey of senior centers in New Hampshire shows that nearly 19 percent of older adults are in need of early or urgent dental care that may be difficult for them to access.

A total of 610 adults age 60 and older were screened last winter and this spring in the survey, which was funded by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and New Hampshire Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services. The survey said 38 of the participants received restorative treatment using state funds.

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The second season of enrollment is now open for the Affordable Care Act’s online insurance marketplaces.  Last year’s rollout in New Hampshire was marred by technical flaws and extremely limited choice.  We’re finding out what’s in store this time, and how political and court challenges may affect the law’s future.

GUESTS:

Data Reveals Impact Of The ACA On N.H.'s Uninsured

Oct 30, 2014
NHPR Staff

A new data set gives a bird’s eye view of New Hampshire’s uninsured residents – and how they stand to gain health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The data itself is not shocking. State health officials and insurers alike know New Hampshire’s most rural communities have the highest rates of uninsured. But this is the first time that information has been aggregated into a map that viewers can navigate on a county-by-county basis.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is sharing potential revisions to how it decides whether insurance policies cover enough doctors and other health care providers.

What's New With The Affordable Care Act In N.H.

Jun 16, 2014
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Expanded Medicaid for low-income adults is coming, but may be delayed.  Meanwhile, four more insurance companies say they’re ready to join New Hampshire’s marketplace for coverage next year.  And as we head into this fall's elections,  the health care law remains a major point of political contention. 

GUESTS:

  • Todd BookmanNHPR’s health reporter
  • Jenny Patterson - health legal counsel at the New Hampshire Insurance Department

CALLOUTS:

Todd Bookman / NHPR

The Insurance Department kicked off a series of public meetings on Wednesday looking into network adequacy standards, with a focus on health plans that exclude doctors and hospitals.

Anthem’s ‘narrow network’ plans—the only option available through so-called ObamaCare this year—left out 10 of New Hampshire’s 26 hospitals, forcing some consumers to switch doctors.

The Insurance Department found Anthem’s plans met the current standards for coverage, which take into account the distance patients must travel for care.

State To Hear Complaint Against Anthem ACA Plans

Mar 30, 2014

New Hampshire's Insurance Department will hear a complaint about the exclusion of a hospital from the network of providers covered under the Affordable Care Act.   A patient at Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester says Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield's network is inadequate because it does not include Frisbie. Sixteen hospitals are in the network; 10 are not. Anthem has said the "narrow'' network keeps costs down and the state insurance department determined the network meets adequacy standards.    The department previously denied a petition by Frisbie and patient Margaret McCarthy.

Any insurance plan sold in the online exchange would first face a public hearing under a bill before State Senators. The measure comes in reaction to Anthem’s decision to cut out 10 of the state's 26 hospitals for plans sold on the new marketplace, a move many lawmakers and consumers say they were blindsided by.

The company defends the decision, saying it helped lower costs by 25%.

truthout.org / Flickr Creative Commons

Twenty-fourteen is when the rubber hits road for the ACA, with new deadlines and new requirements kicking in. These include the so-called individual mandate, which says everyone must carry health insurance or pay a penalty.  We’re talking about what to expect in the Granite State in 2014.

GUESTS:

  • Todd Bookman- NHPR’s health reporter
  • Jay Hancock – reporter for Kaiser Health News

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.

Anthem Blue Cross says it’s still having trouble processing some new health insurance enrollments because of computer problems.  

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