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Former President Barack Obama Releases Video Encouraging Enrollment at HealthCare.Gov

“8 in 10 People Can Find Plans for $75 a Month or Less…cheaper than a lot of cell phone plans”

Former President Obama has a message, Get Covered. Earlier this morning, the former President released a video encouraging Americans to enroll at HealthCare.gov which opened for business today.

According to a new Health and Human Services report, people can find even more affordable plans this year than in years past.

This year many Americans can find a plan for under $75 each month because of the financial assistance that is available that lowers someone’s monthly premiums. That’s right, People will pay less for coverage this year than ever before. (HHS report page 37)
5 Vital Facts About Signing Up For Coverage at HealthCare.gov:

#1: Sign up by December 15. Open Enrollment starts on November 1 but you must take action by December 15, no matter if this is your first time getting covered or if you are returning to shop and save. Beat the rush and sign up early.

#2: Coverage could be cheaper than you think. Last year, 8 in 10 people qualified for financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable. In fact, most people found plans available between $50 to $100 per month.

#3: Shop and save. If you had coverage through HealthCare.gov for 2017, you should come back to update your information and compare your options for 2018. Every year, plans and prices change, you could save money by switching to a new plan that still meets your needs.

#4: Those who choose to go without health insurance may have to pay a penalty. There is a minimum penalty of $695 for not having health insurance.

#5: Free help is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, free help is just a call or quick away. Call 1-800-318-2596, visitlocalhelp.healthcare.gov or make a one-on-one appointment now.

Get America Covered is a nationwide campaign focused on cutting through the confusion to make sure people get the information they need to get covered and stay covered. Get America Covered will help people looking to enroll in health coverage, as well as those who are helping other people sign-up; paying special attention to those states that rely on HealthCare.gov to sign people up for coverage.

NH Senate Republicans Vote Down Proposal To Lower Insurance Premiums Statewide

The Reinsurance Program would allow the NH Department of Insurance to seek additional federal funds to stabilize the insurance marketplace.

Today, Governor Sununu and New Hampshire Republicans failed to fund the NH Insurance Department’s reinsurance proposal that would protect the benefits of tens of thousands of Granite Staters. The Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee moved forward with a proposal from the NH Insurance Department to create a reinsurance program, but failed to authorize any way to pay for it.

“Governor Sununu is shamefully choosing politics over people and New Hampshire will suffer as a result. President Trump’s unpopular decision to sabotage insurance markets in order to implement his even-less-popular plan appears to be spilling over to states with friendly governors like Chris Sununu,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley.

“Sununu’s blind cooperation with Trump ignores the fact that reinsurance plans have been successful in lowering premiums, keeping carriers in the market, and creating stability and certainty. By refusing to fund the proposal, the reinsurance program is set up for failure and shows Governor Sununu’s cooperation with Trump in undermining our healthcare system for political gain.”

After the vote, Sen. Martha Fuller Clark (D-Portsmouth), member of the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee, released the following statement:

“Given President Trump’s attempts to undermine our healthcare system and the failure of Republicans in Congress to act, states like New Hampshire need to be doing all we can do to stabilize our healthcare market, increase competition, and drive down costs for Granite Staters.”

“While the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee authorized the NH Insurance and HHS Commissioners to seek federal waivers to create a reinsurance program and to seek all federal funds available to help pay for the program, the Committee rejected, along party lines, the NH Insurance Commissioner’s proposal to help fund the program through an added assessment on our insurance carriers.”

“Without the certainty of funding and the refusal to add an assessment on our state carriers, there’s no way for insurance carriers to reduce premiums, despite the fact that insurance assessments in the past have been used to address failures in our healthcare marketplace. Governor Sununu and his Republican allies are playing dangerous political games with our healthcare system, risking insurance carriers leaving our state, risking higher premiums for our hard-working families, and creating more destabilization in NH’s healthcare system.”

“Healthcare is an issue that affects all Granite Staters and impacts us at all levels of state government. New Hampshire policymakers should not just throw up their hands and give up working on solutions to these problems just because they are hard. It’s disheartening that Governor Sununu and Republicans in the legislature are again defaulting to the dysfunction of Washington and standing alongside President Trump’s attempts to undermine our healthcare system rather than standing with the people of New Hampshire. Real leadership is needed to bring people together to find meaningful healthcare solutions, both here and in Washington. Unfortunately, today’s vote doesn’t solve any of our problems or find any meaningful solutions.”

In light of today’s votes the New Hampshire Insurance Department (NHID) is “cancelling the public hearings scheduled for August 2nd and August 3rd relative to its market stabilization plan and proposed 1332 waiver application.”

“Consistent with today’s vote of the Joint Health Reform Oversight Committee, the NHID will continue to explore options for the 1332 waiver, and will reschedule the hearings once there is more clarity about the specifics of the state’s approach,” wrote the NHID.

Alaska and Minnesota have successfully implemented and funded similar reinsurance programs that will net-lower premiums in their states.

In response to reports of significant projected increases in individual market health care premiums, and a party-line vote by the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee to block an Insurance Department proposal, Representative Ed Butler (D-Hart’s Location), a member of the Oversight Committee, released the following statement:

“President Trump has said repeatedly that he intends to ‘let Obamacare implode.’  In a belligerent act of sabotage, the President is threatening to withhold billions in cost sharing subsidies to insurance companies that are required under federal law.  The uncertainty that President Trump has created in the insurance market is a driving force in projected rate increases nationwide.”

“Instead of working with the Insurance Department to submit their full waiver request – including a 1% rate increase assessment on group markets – to achieve the greatest possible reduction in rates in the individual market, New Hampshire Republicans on this Oversight Committee have chosen the path of least resistance.”

“Republicans on the Oversight Committee voted on August 1st to prevent New Hampshire’s Insurance Department from submitting their full waiver request.  Instead the Committee authorized the Insurance and Health and Human Services Departments to request financial assistance from the federal government – without any seed money or contribution from NH insurance carriers.”

“Over 35,000 Granite Staters will be subject to spikes in rates of as much as 30 to 40% in the individual market.  By opposing commonsense efforts to bring stability to the market, Governor Sununu and Committee Republicans appear willing to use our citizens as scapegoats to achieve President Trump’s desired ‘implosion’ of our health care system.”

For more information on the waivers read the detailed reporting from Manchester Ink Link

NH Insurance Department Announces Companies That Have Filed to Offer 2018 Marketplace Plans

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Insurance Department has received initial form filings from insurance companies that intend to offer medical and dental plans on the 2018 New Hampshire Marketplace (HealthCare.gov).

Four companies have applied to offer individual plans: Ambetter from NH Healthy Families, Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim, and Minuteman Health. Three companies have applied to offer small-group plans to groups of 50 employees or fewer through the Marketplace’s Small Business Health Options (SHOP) program: Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim, and Minuteman Health. Two companies have applied to offer dental insurance, both as individual plans and through SHOP: Anthem and Delta Dental.

New Hampshire’s Health Insurance Marketplace is run by a partnership between the federal government and the state. The Insurance Department reviews forms and rates and then recommends them for final approval by the federal government, which operates the Marketplace. May 12 was the deadline for insurance companies to submit initial form filings to the Insurance Department; companies have until June 2 to submit initial rate filings to the department. The Insurance Department will make its final recommendations to the federal government by September 27, and the federal government will formally sign off on plans by October 12. Open enrollment for 2018 individual plans will take place between November 1 and December 15. (SHOP plans can be purchased by an employer at any time throughout the year.)

By law, the Insurance Department cannot release rate information for 2018 Marketplace plans until November 1. If any proposed rates reflect an increase of 10% or more above last year’s rates, the federal government, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), will publish information about them, likely sometime this summer: https://ratereview.healthcare.gov/.

However, the Insurance Department will host two information sessions in June on the health care provider networks likely to be available through Marketplace plans in 2018. The first session will take place Monday, June 26, from 10-11 a.m. in Concord, at the Brown Auditorium, 129 Pleasant St. The second will be held online on Wednesday, June 28, from 11 a.m. to noon. For more information, and to register for either session: https://www.nh.gov/insurance/media/pr/2017/documents/050917-release-nhid-2018-networks-information-sessions.pdf


About the New Hampshire Insurance Department

The New Hampshire Insurance Department can help residents with questions or concerns about their existing coverage. To speak to a member of the Consumer Services Department, call at 603-271-2261 or email consumerservices@ins.nh.gov.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department’s mission is to promote and protect the public good by ensuring the existence of a safe and competitive insurance marketplace through the development and enforcement of the insurance laws of the State of New Hampshire. For more information, visit www.nh.gov/insurance.

Information for NH Residents on 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace

NH Insurance Department Issues First in a Series of Consumer Guidance

Concord, NH ­– The New Hampshire Insurance Department offers information to state residents who plan to purchase health insurance in the individual market for 2015, including plans offered through the state’s federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace (www.HealthCare.gov).

“As the November 15 open enrollment date approaches, we want New Hampshire citizens who plan to buy health insurance through the Marketplace to be aware of their options as consumers,” said New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “The Insurance Department regulates all insurance offered to individual consumers in the state, including health insurance.  While we are not involved in enrollment for the Marketplace, we can offer guidance that will enable residents to make informed choices.  Our Consumer Services staff is also available to assist with issues that arise after people are enrolled in coverage.” 

More choices for New Hampshire residents and businesses in 2015:  

Just one company, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, offered health insurance plans on the federally facilitated New Hampshire Health Marketplace in 2014, its first year in operation. However, in 2015, New Hampshire residents using the Marketplace will have five health insurance companies – and many plans and health provider networks – to choose among:

  • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • Assurant (Time)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care
  • Maine Community Health Options
  • Minuteman Health

All but Assurant also plan to offer health insurance on the federally-operated Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) for New Hampshire, available to businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

For more information about these companies’ health provider networks, go to: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/legal/documents/pres_updated_network08.25.14.pdf.
More detailed plan comparison information will also be available soon on www.CoveringNewHampshire.org 

Another new option: New Hampshire Health Protection Program:

The New Hampshire Health Protection Program, New Hampshire’s new health program for low-income residents, began offering coverage on Aug. 15, 2014.  People whose income is below certain levels (about $16,000 for an individual or $32,000 for a family of four) can qualify for no-cost or very low-cost health coverage.  More information is available from the NH Department of Health and Human Services: http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/ombp/nhhpp/.

People who are eligible for the New Hampshire Health Protection Program may not continue to receive federal tax credits in 2015. They should go to www.HealthCare.gov between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 to cancel any 2015 Marketplace coverage and tax credits. 

Open enrollment – be sure to check your options, even if you’re already covered:

For 2015 individual plans, open enrollment begins Nov. 15, 2014 and ends Feb. 15, 2015. These dates apply to all individual health insurance plans, regardless of whether they are purchased through the Marketplace (www.HealthCare.gov). New Hampshire residents buying individual market coverage will not be able to buy 2015 coverage or change their 2015 plans after Feb. 15, 2015 unless they have a change in circumstances, such as changing jobs, getting married, or having a baby.

Coverage for 2015 plans can begin as soon as Jan. 1, 2015 (for those who sign up by Dec. 15, 2014).

Open enrollment is a resident’s opportunity to check the Marketplace to see whether there is a new plan that costs less, has a more suitable network, or has better cost sharing or prescription drug coverage.

New Hampshire residents who had coverage in 2014 should watch their mail for a renewal letter from their insurance company that explains their options and timeframes for renewal. People who bought health coverage in 2014 will be renewed on their current plan, or one that is similar, if they take no action.

Those who bought 2014 coverage on www.HealthCare.gov also will receive a notification from the Marketplace about their specific options, including information about any tax credits.  For most people receiving tax credits, the credits also will continue at the same level if they take no action.

Automatic renewal may not be the best choice, especially for people receiving tax credits:

  • Tax credit amounts are based on income and family size, but also on the pricing of plans available for that calendar year (2nd lowest cost silver plan).
  • Those residents receiving tax credits should check their options to be sure they are getting the assistance for which they are eligible, and that their tax credit amount is based on the most current information.

COMING SOON: Where can I get help with renewal and enrollment questions?

The New Hampshire Insurance Department’s mission is to promote and protect the public good by ensuring the existence of a safe and competitive insurance marketplace through the development and enforcement of the insurance laws of the State of New Hampshire. For more information, visit http://www.nh.gov/insurance

Local Health Advocated Host Press Conference and Open House on ACA Marketplace

Health Care Consumer Groups to Host ‘Marketplace Open Houses’ & Press Conferences on October 1st to Celebrate Key Component of Affordable Care Act

Health insurance marketplaces open October 1st – families and small businesses will access tax credits and premium subsidies through exchange

CONCORD, NH – Health care consumer and advocacy groups will host ‘Marketplace Open Houses’ and press conferences on October 1st to celebrate a key component of the Affordable Care Act.

Starting October 1, eligible New Hampshire residents and small businesses will be able to apply for health insurance through the federal health benefits Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov. Health insurance marketplaces – formerly known as exchanges – allow consumers to find and compare affordable, quality health insurance options on an apples-to-apples basis, adding new transparency on price and quality to the health insurance market. Consumers using the marketplace this fall include individuals and families, small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and members of Congress and their staff.

Many individuals who qualify to purchase coverage through the Marketplace will also qualify for advanced premium tax credits, which will subsidize the cost of their monthly health care premiums.

Several organizations are hosting events this week to inform the press and public of the new options and provide a venue to ask questions concerning how to use the health care tool. Details for four events taking place this week are listed below:

Statewide Press Call: Affordable Care Act Enrollment Begins

This afternoon national and local health care experts will provide the media with accurate information about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The experts will share information about the insurance exchange enrollment period – which begins tomorrow, Tuesday, October 1st – as well as the overall implementation of the ACA in New Hampshire. Speakers will additionally dispel myths that are being spread by opponents of the legislation.

WHEN:           Monday, September 30 at 2:30 pm

 

WHO:               The Center for American Progress Action Fund, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Granite State Progress

WHERE:         Conference Call; for # email zandra@granitestateprogress.org or call (603) 225-2471

 

Manchester: News Conference to Kick-Off Enrollment for NH Residents in the New, More Affordable Health Care Marketplace

A news conference to kick-off enrollment for New Hampshire residents in the new, more affordable health care marketplace will be held tomorrow, October 1st in Manchester. Many New Hampshire residents who qualify to purchase coverage through the Marketplace will also qualify for advanced premium tax credits, which will subsidize the cost of their monthly health care premiums. Both Federal Navigator organizations (Planned Parenthood of New England and the Bi-State Primary Care Association) will be sharing their strategies for increasing awareness, and direct one-on-one enrollment assistance to New Hampshire’s Marketplace-eligible residents. Their efforts will ensure that consumers across the state are able to make an informed choice when selecting health coverage for themselves, their families, or their businesses. The New Hampshire Health Plan will also be making an announcement regarding the State’s new Marketplace Assister program and a statewide multi-media education and outreach campaign slated to kick off this Fall.

WHEN:           October 1, 2013 at 10 a.m.

WHO:                         Representatives of New Hampshire Health Plan, and New Hampshire’s Federal

Navigators represented by Planned Parenthood of New England and the Bi-State Primary Care Association

WHERE:         Child and Family Services, 464 Chestnut Street, (Corner of Chestnut and Lowell Streets), Manchester

RSVP:                         Press only: J. Michael Degnan, (603) 225-6633 or jmdegnan@helmsco.com

 

Keene: Marketplace Open House & Press Panel

A ‘Marketplace Open House & Press Panel’ will be held tomorrow, October 1st in Keene to celebrate the start of the open enrollment period in the health insurance marketplace and to educate the public on how to use this key component of the Affordable Care Act. Short commentary from local leaders and staff of the Keene Public Library – a community resource center for information on the Affordable Care Act – will be followed by a demonstration of the Marketplace. Members of the public and press will have an opportunity to test-drive the health marketplace and ask questions.

WHEN:           Tuesday, October 1st at 12 noon

WHO:                         NH Citizens Alliance and member leaders, Keene Public Library

WHERE:         Keene Public Library, 60 Winter Street, Keene

RSVP:                         Press: zandra@granitestateprogress.org or (603) 225-2471

Public: Karen Kelly, kkelly@nhcitizensalliance.org

 

Nashua: Marketplace Open House

A ‘Marketplace Open House’ will be held tomorrow, October 1st in Nashua to celebrate the start of the open enrollment period in the health insurance marketplace and to educate the public on how to use this key component of the Affordable Care Act. An in-depth powerpoint presentation on the marketplace and ACA will be followed by commentary from local leaders. Members of the public and press will have an opportunity to test-drive the health marketplace and ask questions.

WHEN:           Tuesday, October 1st at 6:00 pm

WHO:                         Organizing for Action and member leaders

WHERE:         Nashua Public Library – East Wing, 2 Court Street, Nashua

RSVP:                         Press: zandra@granitestateprogress.org or (603) 225-2471

Public: Deidre Reynolds, (603) 236-9616

Could New Hampshire Be Setting Up A Failure Of The ACA Marketplace

If you ask anyone they will probably agree that competition drives down consumer costs. Companies routinely lower their prices in an effort to have the lowest price.  Walmart is famous for this.  If you look at their prices, everything ends in $.96.  This allows them to market their lower price, even it is only 3 cents.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed one of the main goals was to create a marketplace for consumers to purchase health insurance.  These exchanges were intended to spur direct competition and lower the price.  This has worked in states like California where initial prices came in hundreds of dollars lower than predicted.

This is not the case for New Hampshire.  As of right now there is only one company on the new marketplace, Anthem BCBS.  How can you have competition if there is only one company.  This is not really surprising since Anthem owns about 65% of the market share of NH already.

Even supporters of the ACA are not thrilled by this news.

“Conceptually, I think that by providing health care to the citizens of the United States, we make ourselves a more employable workforce and a healthier community,” says Baetz, (a NH small business owner) who provides coverage to the five employees at his company. “If we’re all focused on that, it should really reduce our long-term costs.”

Baetz now serves on the advisory council to the New Hampshire Health Exchange and describes himself as “disappointed” with the news that Granite State residents may only have one option on the new marketplace.

“There has been a lot of optimism that some of the benefits of the health-care law would mean broader choice and reduced costs,” Baetz says. “Now, it seems like those options may not be available to us.”

This does not mean the end for the NH Healthcare Marketplace.  There are still options.  NH could be one of the first states to take part in the multi-state exchange.  This would allow NH residents to purchase policies from VT or ME for example.  Some states will have this option in 2014, but all will be required to have a multi-state option by 2017.

The Affordable Care Act requires the federal government to contract with two private health insurers to create “multi-state plans” that will, by 2017, compete in all 50 states.”

My only question is now that the NH Senate has released all control over the marketplace does that increase our chances of being one of the first states to have a multi-state exchange?

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