Highlight on New Hampshire: Marketplace and SHOP Updates

Four insurance companies will be joining New Hampshire’s state Exchange and will offer health insurance plans to state consumers on the Marketplace beginning with the next open enrollment period, November of 2014. Assurant Health, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England, and Minuteman Health (a Massachusetts-bsed co-op) will join Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, which was the only company offering plans on the Marketplace for plan years beginning in 2014. Proponents of the additions argue that more competition will lead to more competitive prices for consumers.

New Hampshire runs a Partnership Marketplace with the federal government, which was approved by Secretary Sebelius in March of 2013. In order to maintain the Partnership Marketplace the state must:

  • Demonstrate the ability to perform all required Exchange activities in line with the attestations it made in its Exchange Blueprint Application Submission; and
  • Comply with regulations and expected progress milestones.

As of April 19, 2014, over 40,000 individuals enrolled with a private plan through the state’s Exchange, and another 7,235 were eligible for Medicaid coverage. The original projection for the state’s 2014 enrollment was 19,000. An overview of the state’s Exchange process can be seen here.

In addition to broadening the choices in the individual Exchange, the state recently closed a comment period that requested opinions on whether or not it is in the best interest of the state’s small group health insurance market to include the employee choice functionality in New Hampshire’s federally operated Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) during 2015, or if it should delay the functionality until 2016. The comment period was in response to the CMS Final rule on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) Exchange and Insurance Market Standards for 2015 and Beyond (78 FR 30240).