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Another choice of insurer

Assurant plans  not in marketplace

Assurant offers new insurance option

Individuals and small businesses looking for health insurance options beyond the narrow network proposed by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield have at least one other choice for next year.

Anthem is the only company selling plans on the new marketplace authorized by the federal Affordable Care Act. Only plans purchased through the marketplace qualify for tax credits toward the premium and other out-of-pocket costs.

Wisconsin-based Assurant Health was approved last week to sell individual insurance plans – policies for families and single people purchased without employer support – outside of the new marketplace.

Another company has also sought approval to sell plans outside of the marketplace, and Michael Wilkey, a director in the state Insurance Department, said regulators could rule on that application early this week.

Anthem announced at the beginning of the month that its individual and small group plans would contract with 16 of the 26 hospitals in New Hampshire, excluding Concord Hospital and its affiliated physician practices.

The department can’t release details about the plans’ network or rates until the policies’ effective date, which is Jan. 1, 2014, but Wilkey said both Assurant and the other carrier’s plans are considered broad networks and both include Concord Hospital.

Assurant insured 4,332 New Hampshire residents in 2011, about 13 percent of the individual market. It was the second-largest insurance carrier for individual policies, behind Anthem.

In 2011, Anthem insured 76 percent of the people on the individual market and more than 261,000 people in the state altogether.

Sarah Palermo

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