Shea-Porter Announces Additional Health Insurer to Enter New Hampshire ACA Marketplace for 2015 Coverage
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ben Wakana, 202-225-5456
MANCHESTER, NH – Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) announced that New Hampshire consumers will have health insurance options on the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace beginning in 2015. Minuteman Health Inc. of Massachusetts has been approved by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to expand into New Hampshire and form a new health insurance CO-OP (Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan) that will offer affordable health care plans to Granite State families.
“Today’s announcement means that current Anthem individual market consumers will be able to keep their hospitals and doctors until next year’s open enrollment, when they will have at least two insurers competing for their business,” Shea-Porter said. “I am pleased that New Hampshire families and individuals will have more choices for coverage, and I will continue working to increase competition and drive down health care costs.”
The announcement comes after the Department of Health and Human Services notified Shea-Porter that the agency has approved a loan application by Minuteman Health Inc. to expand into New Hampshire and form a new CO-OP. The CO-OP program will help non-profit health insurance issuers enter the individual and small group Marketplaces and offer competitive health insurance plans alongside Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Granite Staters will be able to sign up for plans through the CO-OP during 2014 open enrollment, with coverage beginning as early as January 1, 2015.
In October 2013, Shea-Porter wrote to HHS urging the agency to approve Minuteman’s application as part of her efforts to increase competition and choice for Granite Staters. New Hampshire’s insurance market has historically been dominated by one insurer and higher-than-average prices. The new insurance CO-OP will be the second insurance provider offering plans on New Hampshire’s ACA Marketplace, and the first nonprofit, member-governed health insurance company. The CO-OP has expressed interest in offering a wide network of hospitals and health care providers.
Following news that only Anthem would offer plans through the Marketplace in 2014, Shea-Porter spoke directly to Anthem about policies that would be discontinued and the decision to offer a narrow network. After these conversations, Anthem announced that Granite Staters who already have individual market insurance policies from Anthem can renew their coverage before December 16th and keep their current hospital network and doctors, or enroll in a new plan on the Marketplace.
The vast majority of New Hampshire consumers – those who currently have employer-sponsored insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or VA care – can look forward to going to the same doctors and hospitals next year, but with the added benefits that come with the Affordable Care Act.
The full text of Shea-Porter’s letter to Secretary Sebelius is below.
October 15, 2013
The Hon. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave., Southwest
Washington, DC 20201
Dear Secretary Sebelius:
I write to reiterate my earlier support for Minuteman Health, Inc.’s expansion into New Hampshire to form a New Hampshire CO-OP. I understand that their loan application is still under consideration and that a decision will be made shortly.
I urge you to approve this application. As we have discussed, New Hampshire currently has only one insurer offering products on the health insurance exchanges, and that insurer offers only a narrow network of hospital providers. It is the intention of the New Hampshire CO-OP to offer a wide network of hospital providers.
I believe that having robust competition between insurers and multiple network options is critical to the long-term affordability and quality of health coverage in New Hampshire. I urge you to approve this application, which will enhance competition and choice in the Marketplace next year and will be an important advance in making healthcare reform work for my constituents.
Member of Congress