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40% Increase In Premiums Highlight Need For A Better Healthcare System

Below is the press release from the NH Department of Insurance explain the massive spike in healthcare premiums, specifically on those who get insurance through the ACA marketplace.  Below that is my opinion on what we can do to fix this problem. 


Federal Government Announces 2018 Rate Increases

CONCORD, NH – NH Department Of Insurance Press Release  The federal government today published information on proposed rate increases for New Hampshire’s health insurance exchange in 2018, showing that consumers in the individual market may face increases of more than forty percent.

“Today’s news about rates is alarming, especially for the 94,000 New Hampshire residents who obtain their insurance through the individual market, but unfortunately, it does not come as a surprise,” said Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “A number of factors have led to rate increases for 2018 in New Hampshire and across the country, most notably the continued uncertainty at the federal level. My staff and I have been actively engaged to identify options to lessen the impact on the thousands of families who rely on health insurance through the state exchange.”

The 2018 rate information released today by the federal government details proposed increases to benefit plans that are submitted by insurance companies operating on the exchange.  (The New Hampshire Insurance Department is prohibited by law from releasing rate information until Nov. 1.)  A benefit plan is a specific plan that a New Hampshire resident would select for enrollment, such as a bronze, silver, or gold level metal plan.

Three companies have announced their intentions to offer plans on the 2018 exchange in New Hampshire: Ambetter, Anthem, and Harvard Pilgrim. A fourth, Minuteman Health, also has proposed rate increases listed on the federal site, but those plans will not be available to consumers, as the company announced in June that it would stop offering plans in 2018.

The information published today by the federal government shows that some of the state’s insurers have submitted benefit plans for the individual market with substantial increases. The New Hampshire Insurance Department looks at premiums each year from a market-wide perspective, comparing the median premium for a silver-level plan covering a 40-year-old non-tobacco-user.  For 2017, the median premium at this level was $335; the median premium at this level for 2018 would be $479, based on the carriers’ initially proposed rates.  If these rates are ultimately approved, this would represent a 43% increase between next year’s and this year’s median premium in the individual market.

Today, the Department issued guidance permitting insurers to assume the federal government will not be funding Cost Sharing Reductions (CSRs) in 2018.  In response, insurers might adjust silver level plan rates before the deadline for amending rate filings.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department has taken action in recent months to call policymakers’ and consumers’ attention to the impending rate increases and the possibility that companies might withdraw from the exchange in 2018. In June, the Legislature authorized the Department to create a market stabilization plan, and last month, the Department publicly shared its plan to reduce rates and promote stability in the individual market in 2018. Today, the Joint Health Care Reform Oversight Committee authorized the Insurance Department to pursue federal waivers in support of a market stabilization plan, but without relying on an assessment of health insurance carriers.


A completely new healthcare system for all Americans

The above press release from the NH Department of Insurance shows that our current system of private insurance is unsustainable.  A 40% increase in one year. Seriously WTF?  What we do not even know yet is how much out of pocket costs will also increase next year.  Out of pocket expenses include co-pays, co-insurance deductibles, and prescription costs.  These can cost people thousands of dollars on top of their thousands of dollars in premiums.

There is no doubt that Republicans are going to blame Democrats and President Obama for this increase while Democrats will blame Republicans for failing pass meaningful changes to the ACA to stabilize the marketplace.

But while I blame both of them for failing to do what is best for America, the majority of the blame falls directly on the private insurance corporations.  They are raking in obscene profits, continually increasing premiums to maximize their profits.  Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield reported $1 Billion in profits during the first quarter of 2016. That is a 44% increase in profits.

The corporations are shelling out hundreds of millions to lobbyists and politicians to prevent them from passing meaningful legislation that would help solve our problems.  For example, Congress has failed to pass legislation allowing medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, which other countries do, saving them billions annually.  In 2016, the health products, insurance and pharmaceuticals industries spent a combined $400 million on their lobbying efforts.

Are you still surprised that Congress cannot pass meaningful healthcare reform?

This 40% increase combined with the insurance companies record breaking profits last year make it glaringly obvious that we need to move to a single payer system.  With a less than 2% overhead, Medicare is one of the most efficient programs in the government. With additional changes, like allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, the cost of healthcare would drop dramatically.

It is time for America to move to a national universal healthcare system. It is time for Medicare For All.

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 to Host Public Information Sessions on Health Care Networks

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Insurance Department will host two information sessions in June on the health care provider networks likely to be available through New Hampshire’s health insurance exchange 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. Both sessions will be free and open to the public.

Members of the New Hampshire Insurance Department will share information about the networks proposed by the insurance companies that have applied to offer plans on the federally facilitated New Hampshire Marketplace in 2018. (Companies are currently in the midst of applying to offer plans for 2018: The Insurance Department’s deadline for initial applications is May 12.)

“Our goal with these information sessions is to help consumers, and those who work with consumers, get a detailed sense of what the health care provider networks will look like for each plan offered on the Marketplace next year,” said New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “Transparency allows New Hampshire residents to make informed choices about their health insurance.”

To reserve a seat for the in-person information session held June 26 at the Brown Auditorium: http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=ygzv4fxab&oeidk=a07ee4jr3188c95a5cd

To register for the June 28 online session: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6008468589355174146

If you have questions, please email Danielle.Barrick@ins.nh.gov. For directions to the Brown Auditorium: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/directions/brown.htm


About the New Hampshire Insurance Department

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 2017 Health Insurance Marketplace and Open Enrollment

CONCORD, NH — Open enrollment through the state’s federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace (www.Healthcare.gov) will run from November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017. In advance of open enrollment on and off the Marketplace, the New Hampshire Insurance Department offers information and resources to state residents who plan to purchase health insurance in the individual market for 2017 coverage.

“New Hampshire residents have options for 2017: four health insurance companies to choose from, many plans and health care provider networks, and a range of price points,” said New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “Even if people already have a plan, they should go to HealthCare.gov and shop around – they may find a plan that’s more affordable or that has a health care provider network that they like better.”

Federal Assistance Based on Income Levels:

You can buy a plan outside of the federal Marketplace – through an insurance agent or directly from an insurance company – and it will cover the same essential services as a Marketplace plan.  However, if you want to receive federal financial assistance to pay for the plan, you will need to enroll through the Marketplace. Depending on your income level, you may qualify for cost assistance for paying premiums and/or out-of-pocket costs for a health insurance plan bought through the Marketplace, or for no-cost or low-cost coverage under the New Hampshire Health Protection Program.  

When you complete an application on www.Healthcare.gov, you will be prompted to enter your tax household size and financial information. After completing the application, you will be notified if you qualify for financial assistance for a Marketplace plan or for coverage through the New Hampshire Health Protection Program.

If you are enrolled in Marketplace coverage for 2016, you will receive renewal information from your insurance company and the Marketplace itself. 

If you are already enrolled in the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, you will receive information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services about how to pick a plan for 2017.

Health insurance plans:

In 2017, four insurance companies will offer individual plans on the New Hampshire Marketplace: Anthem, Ambetter from NH Healthy Families, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Minuteman Health.

Community Health Options will not be offering coverage in New Hampshire in 2017. Current Community Health Options members are encouraged to shop and select a new plan for 2017. Those who do not select a new plan will be automatically assigned to one by the Marketplace.

For your coverage to begin on January 1, 2017, you will need to enroll by December 15, 2016 (NH residents who have CHO coverage will have until December 31, 2016 to select a new plan). You will need to pay your premium for your 2017 coverage to take effect. 

New Hampshire Health Protection Program members with Community Health Options coverage will receive information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services about moving to a new plan. New Hampshire small businesses can also purchase group plans through the Marketplace under the SHOP program (go to HealthCare.gov).

What to Consider:

There are five categories, or “metal levels,” of coverage in the individual and small group market, including plans sold on the Marketplace. Plans in each category will pay for different portions of an average person’s care, with the rest being paid by the covered person as out-of-pocket expenses:

  • Bronze: Your plan pays 60% of your health costs, on average. You pay 40%.
  • Silver: Your plan pays 70% of your health costs, on average. You pay about 30%.
    • If you buy through the Marketplace and qualify for cost-sharing assistance, you will pay less than 30%, but only if you choose a Silver plan. Your cost-sharing could be as low as 6%, depending on your income.
  • Gold: Your plan pays 80% of your health costs, on average. You pay about 20%.
  • Platinum: Your plan pays 90% of your health costs, on average. You pay about 10%.
  • Catastrophic: Your plan pays less than 60% of the total cost of care on average. These plans are only available to people who are under 30 years old or who have a hardship exemption.

The actual percentage you pay, in total or per service, will depend on the plan design (different plans feature different deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximums) and the services you use throughout the year. When choosing a plan category, think about your health care needs as well as your budget. Bronze and Silver plans have lower monthly premiums, but they also pay less of your costs when you need care.  Gold and platinum plans have lower cost-sharing – meaning the plan pays more and you pay less—but have higher monthly premiums. 

Consider whether your doctors are included in the insurance plan’s network of providers. You can check the insurance company’s provider directory to see if they are included. If you are taking prescription drugs, check the insurance company’s drug formulary to see if they will be covered.

More information on 2017 plans:

New Hampshire HealthCost – a free tool developed by the NH Insurance Department:

The website www.NHHealthCost.org gives cost estimates for health procedures at medical facilities in the state. The estimates are based on actual, anonymous, paid claims data collected from the state’s health insurers. The website allows people to see the total costs of different procedures, including physician fees, lab fees, and facility fees, based on their insurance type, deductible, and coinsurance.

The site’s goal is to give people knowledge about the real cost of their care so they can make informed choices about how and where to spend their health care dollars. The website also includes hospital quality data and a guide to help consumers understand how to use their health insurance.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department Can Help:

“I want the people of this state to know that the Insurance Department is here as a resource: Our Consumer Services staff is available to assist with issues that arise after people are enrolled in coverage,” said Commissioner Sevigny.

Contact the Insurance Department with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your insurance coverage at 1-800-852-3416 or (603) 271-2261, or by email at consumerservices@ins.nh.gov.

About the New Hampshire Insurance Department

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.

Insurance Department Announces Redesign, Major Updates to NHHealthCost.org Website

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 1.48.08 PMCONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Insurance Department announces major consumer-oriented updates to its nationally recognized health transparency website, NHHealthCost.org.

NH HealthCost, which was created by the Insurance Department in 2007, uses actual paid claims data, collected from the state’s health insurers, to show prices for health care procedures at facilities across the state. The website allows people to see the total costs of their procedures, including physician fees, lab fees, and facility fees, based on their insurance type, deductible, and coinsurance (or the amount they would pay if they were uninsured). The site’s goal is to give people knowledge about the real cost of their care so they can make informed choices about how and where to spend their health care dollars.   

“These updates to our renowned HealthCost website give New Hampshire residents even greater transparency on health care costs in the state,” said New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “People in the Granite State do their research before any important purchase, such as buying a car. They ought to have that same right when it comes to their health care expenses. Through our redesigned NH HealthCost website, people can now find the best prices statewide on 67 medical procedures and 16 dental procedures, as well as information on 65 prescription medications.”

Updates to the NH HealthCost website include: 

Procedures:

The site features 31 new medical procedure costs

  • 16 dental cost estimates
  • Pharmacy retail charges for 35 brand name drugs and 30 generic drugs.
  • Searchable lab tests as well as an averages report
  • Physical therapy
  • Behavioral health
  • Chiropractic care
  • Sleep studies

Quality of care: This new section offers a convenient way to see nationally available quality data on local health care facilities, such as infection rates, patient experience, and readmissions. The goal is to level out price disparities between providers and to increase the quality of care that patients can expect to receive.

A Guide to Health Insurance: The guide features frequently asked questions about getting health insurance, navigating the insurance system, and how to manage costs. The guide is interactive: Users can submit their own questions and give feedback on the information presented.

New Hampshire is considered a national leader in health care transparency. In 2015, it was the only state in the country to earn an A in a national report card on access to health care prices, issued by two nonprofit organizations that focus on health care reform. The report card cited NH HealthCost.org as “a prime example of a price transparency website built with consumers in mind.” 

“We commend New Hampshire for the effort it has put into the site and urge other states to use NH HealthCost as a model when developing price information for their residents,” said the report, developed by the organizations Catalyst for Payment Reform and Health Care Incentives Institute. (More information: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/media/pr/2015/documents/070915.pdf)

The New Hampshire Insurance Department developed NH HealthCost with the help of the University of New Hampshire, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and many other interested parties in the public and private sectors. 

The website: www.NHHealthCost.org

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.

NH Insurance Department Issues Winter Weather Tips

Concord – With the year’s first snowstorm on the way, the New Hampshire Insurance Department urges residents to take all possible precautions. 

“It’s always best to be prepared for the worst when winter weather hits,” said New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “In the event of an accident or in case your home is damaged, the New Hampshire Insurance Department can offer guidance on how to work with your insurance company.”

What to do if you’re in a car accident:

• Call the police.

• Obtain the names, addresses, telephone numbers, insurance information, and driver’s license numbers of everyone involved in the accident, as well as any witnesses.

• Record the time, date, location, road conditions, make and year of vehicles involved, apparent damages and injuries, and your version of what happened.

• Call your insurance agent or company to report the incident as soon as possible. Ask your agent what documents, forms, and data you will need.

• Take photos of the cars, the surrounding area, and the license plates of the other vehicles involved.

• Take notes each time you talk with your insurance company, agent, lawyers, police or others involved in the situation. Write down the dates, times, names and subjects you talked about, as well as any decisions or promises made.

• Ask your insurance company if you have coverage for a rental vehicle if your car is not drivable. Save all receipts and bills, including those from renting a car or having your car towed and/or stowed.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers an auto checklist – download it: http://www.insureuonline.org/auto_accident_checklist.pdf. It’s also available as a free app for your smart phone: http://www.insureuonline.org/insureu_getready_newcar.htm.

 

What to do if your home is damaged:

• Call your insurance company or agent as soon as possible. Have your policy number and other relevant information in hand. Cooperate fully with the insurance company, and ask what documents, forms and data you will need.

• Take photographs/video of the damage.

• Make the repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your property (i.e., cover broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls). Do not make any permanent repairs until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.

• Save all receipts, including those from the temporary repairs covered by your insurance policy.

• If the damage is so severe that you must stay elsewhere, ask your insurance company if you have coverage for additional living expenses incurred while repairs are being made. Save all receipts to document these costs.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers a free, downloadable home inventory checklist: http://www.insureuonline.org/home_inventory_checklist.pdf. You also may download a free home inventory app for your mobile phone: http://www.insureuonline.org/insureu_special_disaster.htm

What types of damage are likely to be covered?

• Wind

• Damage to the exterior of your home or other structures from wind-driven rain

• Tree damage to your home, garage, or other property

• Other falling objects

• The collapse of a structure due to weight of ice or snow

• Damage to your home’s interior from ice dam or ice backup 

Frozen pipes might not be covered if the damage is due to negligence, such as failing to maintain an adequate temperature in the house when the ability to do so is there. Check your policy and call your insurance agent or company if you need clarification or have specific questions. 

What types of damage are not likely to be covered by a standard homeowners’ policy?

• Damage as the result of a flood

• Removal of fallen trees (if the trees do not damage your home or other property, or block your driveway)

• Food spoilage due to a power outage

• Water damage from backed-up drains or sewers

Some insurers offer endorsements (i.e., additional protection that may be purchased) for certain things not covered in a standard homeowners’ policy. Check with your agent or company to see if additional coverage makes sense for you.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department can help:

Contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your insurance coverage at 1-800-852-3416 or (603) 271-1406, or by email at consumerservices@ins.nh.gov. If you wish to file a grievance, you may call, email, or submit a complaint electronically or by mail or fax: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/consumers/complaints.htm.

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 the Proposed Anthem-Cigna Merger

NH Insurance Department Reviewing Plan in
Coordination with Other States, Federal Government 

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Insurance Department is working closely with other states and with the federal government to review the proposed merger between health insurance companies Anthem and Cigna.

The acquisition of Cigna by Anthem represents a combination of the two top commercial providers of health benefits in the state. As the primary regulator of the insurance industry in New Hampshire, the Insurance Department is playing an active role in reviewing the financial aspect of the proposed merger and will closely examine the potential effects on market competitiveness in the state. This process will include an opportunity for New Hampshire residents to voice their opinions.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department has authority under its holding company law, RSA chapter 401-B, to review acquisitions that involve insurance companies domiciled or licensed in the state. An insurance company is said to be “domiciled” in the state in which an insurer is licensed (and chartered) to operate under that state’s individual statutes and regulations. The review process will involve both a financial review of the proposed transaction and a review of the proposed merger’s effects on health insurance markets in the state. The financial review will focus on Cigna HealthCare of New Hampshire, Inc., a small subsidiary of Cigna domiciled in the state, and on Anthem, Inc., the parent company based in Indiana. The markets review will focus more broadly on all the health insurance coverage Cigna and Anthem offer in New Hampshire.

image004Looking at the potential anti-competitive effects of the merger will be a crucial part of the Insurance Department’s review process.  According to the most recent analysis of New Hampshire health markets, the two companies involved in the merger are also the two largest companies involved in health coverage in the state; when both fully-insured and self-funded employer health coverage are included, Anthem accounts for 36% of the market and Cigna for 24%.  The Insurance Department has retained the services of an economist to help with the analysis of market impacts.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department will coordinate with other states, which have approval authority under their own laws, and with the U.S. Department of Justice, which also looks at the market effects of mergers. This large-scale review will take place over the coming year.

In New Hampshire, part of this process will include a public hearing, in which residents and other interested parties will have the opportunity to comment. Once a hearing has been scheduled, the Department will notify the public at least 15 days in advance.

The Insurance Department is accepting public comment. Emailed comments should be sent to Requests@ins.nh.gov. Written comments should be mailed to the New Hampshire Insurance Department, 21 South Fruit Street, Suite 14, Concord, NH, 03301, with “ATTN: ANTHEM-CIGNA MERGER.”

The Department will be closely scrutinizing whether this proposed merger would have negative effects on policyholders and whether it would hurt competition in the New Hampshire health insurance marketplace. Under state law, the merger cannot be approved if it will have significant anti-competitive effects, unless those effects will be offset by substantial benefits to the markets and/or New Hampshire consumers.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department Can Help

Contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your insurance coverage at 1-800-852-3416 or (603) 271-1406, or by email at consumerservices@ins.nh.gov. If you wish to file a grievance, you may call, email, or submit a complaint electronically or by mail or fax: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/consumers/complaints.htm.

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 2016 Health Insurance Marketplace

NH Insurance Department Issues Consumer Guidance as Open Enrollment Begins 

CONCORD, NH – As open enrollment through the state’s federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace (www.HealthCare.gov) begins, the New Hampshire Insurance Department offers information to state residents who plan to purchase health insurance in the individual market for 2016.

“As many New Hampshire residents begin the process of choosing a health insurance plan, I am pleased to note that they have choices: five health insurance companies to choose from, many plans and health care provider networks, and a range of price points,” said New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “And I want the people of this state to know that the Insurance Department is here as a resource: Our Consumer Services staff is available to assist with issues that arise after people are enrolled in coverage.”

Federal assistance based on income level:

While you can buy a plan off the Marketplace — through an insurance agent or directly from an insurance company — you’ll need to go through HealthCare.gov if you want to receive financial assistance. Depending on your income level, you may qualify for financial assistance for a health insurance plan through the federal Marketplace or for no-cost or very low-cost coverage under the New Hampshire Health Protection Program. By visiting www.HealthCare.gov  and viewing New Hampshire plans, you’ll be prompted to enter your household and financial information; you’ll be notified if you qualify either for federal assistance for a Marketplace plan or for coverage through the New Hampshire Health Protection Program. If you are already enrolled in the New Hampshire Health Protection Program, you should have received information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services about how to pick a plan for 2016.

 

Health insurance plans:

In 2016, five insurance companies will offer plans on the New Hampshire Marketplace: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Ambetter from New Hampshire Healthy Families, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Maine Community Health Options, and Minuteman Health.

“I urge New Hampshire residents to check their options for 2016, even if they are already covered,” said Commissioner Sevigny. “Open enrollment is your 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.”

For 2016 individual plans, open enrollment begins November 1, 2015, and ends January 31, 2016. New Hampshire residents buying individual plans will not be able to buy 2016 coverage or change their 2016 plans after January 31, 2016, unless they have a change in circumstances, such as changing jobs, getting married, or having a baby.

There are five categories, or “metal levels,” of coverage in the Marketplace. Plans in each category pay different amounts of the total costs of an average person’s care and feature different deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximums. The actual percentage you’ll pay in total or per service will depend on the services you use during the year.

  • Bronze: Your health plan pays 60%, on average. You pay about 40%.
  • Silver: Your health plan pays 70%, on average. You pay about 30%. (Note: if you qualify for cost-sharing assistance, you will pay less than 30%, but only if you choose a Silver plan. Your cost-sharing could be as low as 6%, depending on your income.)
  • Gold: Your health plan pays 80%, on average. You pay about 20%.
  • Platinum: Your health plan pays 90%, on average. You pay about 10%.
  • Catastrophic: Catastrophic coverage plans pay less than 60% of the total average cost of care on average. They are available to people who are under 30 years old or who have a hardship exemption.

When choosing a plan category, think about your health care needs. Gold and platinum plans often have lower cost sharing — meaning the plan pays more and you pay less –when you need care. Bronze and silver plans tend to come with less expensive monthly premiums, but they tend to pay less of your costs when you need care.

More information

The New Hampshire Insurance Department Can Help

Contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your insurance coverage at 1-800-852-3416 or (603) 271-1406, or by email at consumerservices@ins.nh.gov. If you wish to file a grievance, you may call, email, or submit a complaint electronically or by mail or fax: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/consumers/complaints.htm.

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.

NH Insurance Department: Residents Will Have Health Plan Choices in 2016

5 Health Insurance Companies, 4 Dental Carriers File to Offer Plans on Marketplace

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Insurance Department announces that state residents will have a variety of health insurance options to choose from in 2016.

At the close of the April 15 deadline for filing 2016 plans, five health insurance companies had submitted applications to offer plans on New Hampshire’s federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace in 2016. Four companies had applied to offer stand-alone dental plans.

“For 2015, New Hampshire residents had a range of health insurance companies, plans, and provider networks to choose among,” said New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “I’m pleased that in 2016, they’ll likely have just as many options, if not more. Choice is good for consumers and good for competition.”

Health insurance companies that submitted applications to offer plans through the 2016 Marketplace include: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England, Community Health Options, Minuteman Health, and Ambetter from NH Healthy Families, offered by Celtic Insurance.

While some health insurance plans will include dental coverage, New Hampshire residents also will be able to choose among a variety of distinct dental plans. Four companies will offer stand-alone dental plans on the Marketplace: Anthem, Delta Dental, Dentegra Insurance Company, and Guardian Life Insurance Company.

New Hampshire is a partnership state, which means that the state is responsible for reviewing plans proposed for sale on the federally facilitated New Hampshire Health Insurance Marketplace and deciding whether to recommend them for final approval by the federal government. Open enrollment for 2016 plans will start November 1, 2015.

In June, the Department will host public information sessions detailing the health care provider networks likely to be available to New Hampshire residents in 2016 through the various health insurance plans offered on the Marketplace.

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.

NH Insurance Commissioner to Host 2 Public Listening Sessions in May

Feedback Sought from NH residents on Health Insurance Questions

CONCORD, NH – New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny will host two listening sessions in the state in May to solicit feedback from residents on health insurance issues.

“We are here to serve the residents of New Hampshire, and we hope these public listening sessions will provide an opportunity for them to connect with us and let us know how we can better help them,” Commissioner Sevigny said. “The feedback will be used to help guide the Insurance Department as it works to improve the information and services offered to health insurance consumers in the state.”

The first public information session will be held May 7 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, 101 South Commercial St., Manchester.

The second session will be held on May 21 from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Inter-Lakes High School Community Auditorium, 1 Laker Lane, Meredith.

To RSVP, please email danielle.barrick@ins.nh.gov and specify which session you will attend.

The sessions will be an opportunity for the Insurance Department to hear from the public. Commissioner Sevigny will discuss health insurance regulation — including what the Department does for the public — and will answer related 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 www.nh.gov/insurance.

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