Medicaid

Prescription Drug Treatment Info / Flickr/CC

Starting this month, the state’s more than 140,000 Medicaid recipients are eligible for substance abuse disorder benefits.

The expansion went into effect Friday.

The benefit was already available to the 49,000 people who enrolled as part of the state’s Medicaid expansion program launched two years ago.

Lawmakers reauthorized the program earlier this year.

Jack Rodolico

When Jen Howe woke up on Monday, she wasn’t planning on being back in the surgeon’s office. She’s laid out on a table, and the nurse reminds her to relax, and breathe.

Howe had an abdominal surgery two weeks ago. The incision is just below her waistline. Dr Krzysztof Plociennik is probing two inches into the wound, poking at a hard spot until blood squirts out of the wound.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

The powerful Senate Finance Committee is preparing to offer a recommendation on a proposal to continue Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire.

The committee, which is joining with members of the Senate's health committee, will decide whether to support or oppose the plan Monday. The committee can also make changes to the plan.

After the committee vote, the bill heads to the Senate floor. If it passes without changes, it goes on to Gov. Maggie Hassan's desk.

A mix of 12 Republicans and Democrats from the North Country agreed on the need to pass a bill that would continue Medicaid for the next two years.

That reflected the tone at the House on Wednesday, where HB 1696  passed 216 - 145, NHPR’s Paige Sutherland reported.

Jack Rodolico

Lexi Gerkin is 14 years old. She has a number of complex disabilities and medical conditions, and she’s been without nursing for four months. And Lexi’s mother, Audrey Gerkin, is hopeful that higher pay rates for pediatric nurses will make it easier to find in-home care for her daughter.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Despite Tuesday's primary wrapping up late Tuesday night, the New Hampshire House returned to business the very next morning.

Lawmakers had a slate of bills on the docket Wednesday from continuing Medicaid expansion for another two years, to funding full-day kindergarten.

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.

Casey McDermott, NHPR

Newly confirmed New Hampshire Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers spent part of his first official day on the job lending his support to a plan to extend the state’s Medicaid expansion another two years.

Garrett Vonk

More people have health insurance in New Hampshire, but they're also paying more for it.  That's according to the Insurance Department's annual report on costs

Sara Plourde for NHPR

Republican leaders in the New Hampshire House and Senate say they’re willing to consider reauthorizing the state’s Medicaid expansion after its sunset date at the end of 2016 — as long as they can find someone to help foot the costs.

On Monday’s edition of The Exchange, House Speaker Shawn Jasper said it doesn’t seem politically feasible to expect him to pass a plan that requires more public spending.

Primary 2016: Health Care on the Campaign Trail

Jan 6, 2016
Julie Kertesz / Flickr/CC

Health care still a top issue for voters, from the Affordable Care Act to lowering the cost of prescription drugs. And New Hampshire residents have made solving the opioid crisis a national priority. We're looking at where the twenty-sixteen presidential candidates stand.

Sara Plourde for NHPR

New Hampshire's Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a policy that would increase Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates for qualified rural clinics that have a shortage of doctors.

The policy also would create the potential for more providers to receive federal and state loan repayment for underserved areas and drive patients to primary care instead of hospitals.

It's called a Governor-Designated and Secretary-Certified shortage area.

Courtesy David Mulder via Flickr Creative Commons

A bipartisan commission says New Hampshire lawmakers should consider adding comprehensive dental benefits to the state's Medicaid program for adults. The commission, which was created last year to analyze barriers to dental care in New Hampshire, released its final report on Monday.

 

New Hampshire got off to a late start compared to many other states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, but it quickly made up for lost time in terms of enrollment.

Allison Quantz for NHPR

More than seven years — and $31 million — past the original deadline, New Hampshire officials are readying the state's Medicaid billing system for federal certification.

The certification visit scheduled for April 20 is the final step in the long-delayed process of developing the system that reimburses doctors and hospitals for providing Medicaid coverage.

The state approved the $60 million contract with a vendor now owned by Xerox in 2005, expecting it to be online by 2007. The system didn't go live until 2013.

The Senate has voted to wait before deciding whether to extend the state’s expanded Medicaid program, also called the New Hampshire Health Protection Program.

Under the law that went into effect last year, the program will expire at the end of 2016. That’s the point when the federal government stops funding the entire expansion, dialing its contribution down to 90 percent.

In a bipartisan vote, the Senate tabled the extension in order to give more time to determine how the program is working.

Jon Ovington

Today a house committee considered a bill that would prohibit Medicaid from funding circumcisions of newborn baby boys.

Bedford Republican Keith Murphy sponsored this bill. He firmly believes circumcision is dangerous – potentially, very dangerous.

"One hundred and seventeen children a year, on average, die from circumcision complications. In fact it’s one of the leading causes of neonatal male deaths," says Murphy.

Susan Simoneta via Flickr CC

Nursing home residents from across the state are pushing for Gov. Maggie Hassan to reinstate a $7 million cut in expected Medicaid reimbursements.

More than a dozen residents and nursing home administrators arrived at the Statehouse Tuesday with Republican Sen. Jeanie Forrester seeking a meeting with Hassan. Nursing homes aren't receiving a $7 million rate increase they had been expecting due to budget shortfalls in the Department of Health and Human Services. The nursing homes have received the increase since 2008 and most created their budgets around them.

Via NH.gov

Nearly 90 percent of those leaving New Hampshire's prison system are eligible for health care coverage under the state's expanded Medicaid program. And while they make up a small fraction of the more than 30,000 who have signed up so far, health and corrections officials say getting them enrolled could have far-reaching effects.

Jon Ovington

A bill proposed in the state legislature would end Medicaid payments for circumcisions.

The bill’s sponsor, state representative Keith Murphy of Bedford, describes the practice as unethical.

"To me there’s something fundamentally wrong about strapping a baby boy to a board and amputating perfectly healthy, normal tissue," says Murphy.

Murphy adds trimming circumcisions from the state budget will save money, although how much will be determined by the legislature next year.

Less than six months after sign-ups began, New Hampshire is already close to meeting its first-year enrollment target for the state's newly expanded Medicaid program.

The state's previous Medicaid program covered low-income children, parents with non-disabled children under 18, pregnant women, older residents and people with disabilities. The expansion adds anyone under 65 who earns up to 138 percent of federal poverty guidelines, which is about $15,900 for a single adult.

NHPR

The Department of Health and Human Services is delaying part of New Hampshire’s Medicaid Managed Care program.

Transferring New Hampshire’s Medicaid program to so called managed care is a huge, sprawling puzzle. The idea is for private insurance companies to take over the state program that provides health insurance for low income residents. And the trickiest part will be transferring the care of the sickest residents – people with developmental disabilities and traumatic brain injuries.

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.

Jack Rodolico

Yusuf Valera resents that he has to buy health insurance. He’s never had it, and he says he doesn’t want it now.

"I don’t have much of a choice. If I don’t do it, then they’re going to take money out of my taxes anyway," Valera says.

The irony is Valera stands to gain - in a big way - from the Affordable Care Act. Yet like most New Hampshire residents, he simply doesn't like the law.

St. Joseph Hosptial, Nashua

One in five Medicare patients treated for a list of common conditions - like pneumonia and heart failure -  are readmitted to the hospitals that treated them within a month.

One way the federal government is trying to improve that is by penalizing hospitals based on their readmission rates. It’s a provision of the Affordable Care Act that will hit 2,610 hospitals across the country next year, including nine in New Hampshire.

NHPR

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the state will wait until April before it puts Medicaid patients with chronic conditions under the oversight of two managed care companies. In fact the state has not announced when that transition will happen.

New Hampshire is postponing a crucial phase of Medicaid managed care. The delay follows concerns raised by advocates of patients with complicated health conditions.

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.

Via Meridien's NH website

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.

Lawmakers Look For Medicaid Tax Solution

May 6, 2014
Todd Bookman / NHPR

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.

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