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Anthem NH customers can renew full network plans for one year

Last modified: 11/4/2013 11:59:04 PM
Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield recently began advertising a reprieve for New Hampshire customers who purchase individual insurance plans and were worried they could lose their current doctors.

In a flyer the company planned to mail late last week, customers are told “to keep your existing benefits, you can renew early. (If purchased by Nov. 15), your effective date will be December 1, 2013, and your plan year will be extended until December 1, 2014.”

Anthem spokesman Christopher Dugan said the mailing is “part of our ongoing commitment to keep our members informed about their benefits.”

The company announced in September that the plans it will sell on the new federal insurance marketplace, where individuals can get tax credits and subsidies to help with the cost of insurance, will work with a limited network of providers in New Hampshire.

Concord Hospital is one of the 10 hospitals excluded from the network.

Roughly 40,000 New Hampshire residents purchase insurance plans on their own, almost all of them through Anthem, which will be the only company selling plans for 2014 on the marketplace in New Hampshire.

State law allows people to renew their insurance plans at any point in the year of their current policy and guarantees a right to keep the policy for 12 months after it starts, said Alex Feldvebel, deputy commissioner of the Insurance Department.

“This authority existed all along, and what we’re hearing from brokers advising companies in the small business market is that they’re telling their clients to do that, too,” Feldvebel said.

The state law would not entitle any customer to renew their existing policy for more than one year, however, and policies that take effect any time after Jan. 1 will be subject to all the rules and regulations of the law, as well as Anthem’s new network.

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, a Democrat representing New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District, talked with Anthem and the Obama administration about the exemption for plans effective in New Hampshire before Jan. 1, according to her communications director Ben Wakana.

Anthem’s limited network also excludes Frisbee Memorial Hospital in her hometown of Rochester.

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or spalermo@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

This story has been amended to more accurately reflect Rep. Shea-Porter’s involvement in Anthem’s communication with customers.


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