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Fewer health exchange plans on offer for 2018

Jun 29, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Consumers who will be looking to purchase health insurance through the HealthCare.gov exchange got a sneak preview of what might be on offer in 2018 when the New Hampshire Insurance Department released its annual report earlier this week.

  • The number of providers will go down—from four to three for individual plans, and from two to one for small group plans. That’s because Minuteman is pulling out of the exchange—for now—as they transition from a non-profit to a for-profit company.
  • There will be a total of 15 plans for individuals to choose from and six plans for small businesses. That’s down from 32 individual plans and 17 small business plans offered in 2017.
  • Premiums are expected to go up, with insurance companies reporting they lost roughly 10 cents on the dollar in 2017. The new rates won’t be made public until November 1.

 “It’s no secret to anyone that a lot has happened since last year, and there’s a lot of uncertainty right now. Not knowing where the feds are going with it, the state is in the mode of having to act and react as quickly as possible, “ said Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny.

Attempts in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA)—otherwise known as ‘Obamacare’—shouldn’t change these numbers, as any new policy wouldn’t go into effect until after 2018.

Minuteman’s transition adds another layer of uncertainty to the market.

  • The 27,000 customers currently enrolled in Minuteman plans through the exchange will be covered till the end of 2017.
  • Minuteman hopes to open its doors as a for-profit and start selling new insurance plans on January 1, 2018.
  • They have submitted an application to the Insurance Department, which would have to be approved before August 16 for the company to be able to offer plans on the exchange for 2018.  “Our goal is seamless continuity for members,” said Minuteman CEO Tom Policelli.
  • Minuteman exchange customers can switch to a new provider during the enrollment window—November 1 to December 15. If they don’t, they’ll be carried over to the “default carrier”. It isn’t clear yet who that default carrier would be—the new Minuteman, or a different insurer.

A total of around 50,000 New Hampshire residents get their insurance through the HealthCare.gov exchange. 

Comments

Jackie Benson
- Kensington

Mon, 07/03/2017 - 11:27am

All these plans - both from Republicans and Democrats - focus on who's paying for healthcare, instead of asking why costs are so much higher in this country than anywhere else in the world. Shifting who foots the bill isn't going to fix that. We need our elected officials and regulators to take a hard look at what's inflating costs, and come up with solutions that provide incentives for using healthcare resources responsibly.

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