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Ambetter to remain in NH Obamacare market: move adds some assurance to growing uncertainty over individual plans.

Ambetter by NH Healthy Families, which provides health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and the state's expanded Medicaid program, has announced it will offer plans next year.

Both Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny and Gov. Chris Sununu said Ambetter's decision is heartening at a time when great uncertainty remains in Washington over the fate of former President Obama's health care overhaul law.

Two other companies, Anthem and Harvard Pilgrim, have announced intentions to offer plans but have not confirmed their decision. They have until Sept. 27 to sign contracts with the federal government.

Ambetter covers 77,100 Medicaid and health insurance marketplace members. The company said it will remain in the market for 2018 and is committed to working with state officials to stabilize the market and offer affordable options.

Sununu said Ambetter's announcement "is very welcome news and is a result of a rigorous effort to stabilize and preserve New Hampshire's individual market until Obamacare is reformed. As I have previously stated, my administration has been engaged in an intensive and productive dialogue with our insurers to do whatever we can to keep them in New Hampshire's individual market,"

Deadline extension

Republicans in Congress have been unable to deliver on a promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. An analysis released earlier this month by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that President Trump's mixed signals on the issue have created significant uncertainty and led insurers to seek higher premium increases for 2018 than they would have otherwise.

The growing uncertainty among insurers led to the federal government extending by three weeks the deadline for companies to submit their rates for next year.

The rate-filing deadline, for insurance companies offering 2018 plans on state exchanges--including New Hampshire --had originally been Aug. 16, but it was moved to Sept. 5.

"This is welcome news to insurance companies, who have been facing unprecedented uncertainty, in large part at the federal level," Sevigny said.

Some premiums in New Hampshire are expected to increase by more than 40 percent. The 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.

About 98,000 individuals in New Hampshire are covered through the state's federally facilitated Obamacare marketplace; about 43,000 of those are Medicaid recipients. Among the non-Medicaid recipients, the average monthly premium this year was $399, though nearly two-thirds of the individuals receive subsidies or tax credits, dropping the average to $242.

Caption: Shown on her first day as Dartmouth-Hitchcock's new CEO and president, Dr. Joanne Conroy, left, meets with Dr. Peter Solberg, in foreground, chief medical information officer, and Martin Pureed, vice president for information services, in her Lebanon office. Conroy previously worked at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Mass., where she also served as CEO. (Courtesy photo)

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Title Annotation:HEALTH CARE; Ambetter by NH Healthy Families
Publication:New Hampshire Business Review
Geographic Code:1U1NH
Date:Aug 18, 2017
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