New Hampshire has increased the amount of Medicaid funding it devotes to home-based care for the disabled since a 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling gave people a choice to live outside institutions.
By 2012, according to data provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the state was providing 50.3 percent of Medicaid long-term care money for disabled people living in home- or community-based settings. That compares to 40.3 percent in 2002.
One of three private companies brought in to manage administration and benefits within the state’s Medicaid program is ending its agreement. The Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday Meridian Health Plan will withdraw at the end of July.
“This has not been an easy decision,” says Dr. David Cotton, CEO of Detroit-based Meridian, “but our recent growth in the Midwest demands that we refocus our resources to continue to provide top-quality managed care products in our core markets.”
Nearly 90% of the people who signed up for health care through the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire have paid their first month’s bill.
Anthem, the only insurance company in the exchange this year, says roughly 35,000 out of the 40,000 who enrolled through healthcare.gov are paid up.
That's a higher percent than estimates put out by Republican members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. Their report released April 30th stated that just 67% of enrollees nationally had paid their first month’s premium.
A recent ruling declaring a state tax on hospitals unconstitutional is leaving lawmakers scrambling for a fix. On Tuesday, three amendments were put forward, each offering a different path.
Representatives Cindy Rosenwald (D-Nashua) and Neal Kurk (R-Weare) are co-sponsoring a plan that changes technical language within the Medicaid Enhancement Tax and designates that none of the revenue be allocated to the state's general fund.
“We need to rethink the nature of the MET, the purpose and the partnership,” said Rosenwald.
The Senate's tax committee is meeting to discuss a recent court ruling that found New Hampshire's tax on hospitals unconstitutional. Senate President Chuck Morse told the Ways and Means Committee last week he hopes negotiations among legislative leaders, the governor and the hospitals produce a short-term fix to avoid a major impact on the budget. The committee is hoping to have a proposal to attach to a House bill when the panel meets Tuesday. The Superior Court ruling applies to the 2014 tax year and future tax years.
A judge has ruled that New Hampshire cannot collect a Medicaid Enhancement Tax from hospitals. In a ruling released Friday, Hillsborough County Superior Court Philip Mangones says the state should have stopped collecting the tax in 2011 when a loophole in the Medicaid reimbursement system closed. He says the tax is unconstitutional. Catholic Medical Center, St. Joseph Hospital and Exeter Hospital sued in 2011, challenging the $31 million they paid in the tax that year.
It’s been a little more than 100 days since the state of New Hampshire dramatically re-shaped its biggest program. On December 1st, traditional Medicaid became Medicaid Managed Care, shifting administration of the health program into the hands of private companies in the hopes of saving $15 million a year.
Perhaps the biggest change to the program for recipients revolves around something called prior authorizations.
At the end of the legislative season, New Hampshire lawmakers decided to spend the summer studying whether the Granite State should accept or reject federal funds to extend Medicaid to more residents. A special committee has held weekly sessions on this, with a deadline of mid-October. We’ll find out what they’re looking at and what they may decide.
The Affordable Care Act encourages states to expand Medicaid coverage and provides funding to do so. So far, the tally is roughly even between states opting in and opting out, but some are still undecided, including New Hampshire. Medicaid expansion has support from the House and Governor but the Senate has some serious doubts.
Although the Supreme Court upheld most of the Affordable Care Act, it said states could choose whether to expand Medicaid. Supporters say doing so helps low income Americans gain coverage and boosts the economy. Critics warn it’s government overreach and is simply unaffordable. We’ll get New Hampshire’s take on this debate.