Three companies will stay in N.H.’s health insurance market

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Monitor staff
Thursday, August 17, 2017

The New Hampshire health insurance marketplace will have three companies in 2018, after Anthem and Harvard Pilgrim confirmed Wednesday that they will offer plans through the exchange.

Anthem covers about 27,000 state residents, and Harvard Pilgrim covers about 11,000 residents through HealthCare.gov and the state’s Medicaid expansion program.

“Thanks in part to the uncertainty coming from Washington, D.C., individual markets around the country are facing unprecedented instability. To have three insurance companies recommit to staying in New Hampshire in 2018 is incredibly encouraging,” state Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny said in a prepared statement.

Last week, Ambetter confirmed its intention to remain in the market for 2018.

A fourth company that had previously participated, Minuteman Health, announced in June that it would not offer plans in 2018 but said it would try to create a new company to offer plans on the New Hampshire exchange.

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts-based health insurance co-op, which covers about 27,000 New Hampshire residents, said it had failed in that effort. Its policies remain in effect through the end of 2017 but policyholders will need to find a new carrier for next year.

Minuteman blamed a provision of the law that requires insurers with healthier customers to make payments to insurers with sicker customers.

“While we had many productive conversations with potential funders, ultimately the chaotic atmosphere in Washington and volatility driven by the Risk Adjustment program proved too much for funders to make a long-term investment at this time,” said company CEO Tom Policelli.

About 98,000 individuals in New Hampshire are covered through the state’s federally facilitated insurance marketplace, including about 43,000 Medicaid recipients.

Last week, the federal government extended the rate-filing deadline from Wednesday to Sept. 5 for companies to file revised rates with the states for review. The Insurance Department is prohibited by law from releasing rate information prior to open enrollment on Nov. 1, “but the federal government has made publicly available proposed rate increases of 10 percent or more on its rate review website,” the department said.

Wednesday was the deadline for states to submit all 2018 plan information other than rates to the federal government for plans to be offered on the New Hampshire exchange.

Companies must sign a contract with the federal government by Sept. 27 in order to offer plans on the exchange in 2018.

Some premiums in New Hampshire are expected to increase by more than 40 percent. The state insurance department has been working on a plan to offset those hikes, but a legislative committee recently rejected a key part of the program it wanted to enact.

(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.)