CONCORD — Limiting access to hospitals and doctors under an Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield plan for individuals using the health insurance exchange has prompted a Sept. 18 meeting between state senators and company officials.
Last week, Anthem, the only health insurer to offer plans on the state exchange, which begins Oct. 1, told a legislative committee it will have a smaller provider network of 16 of the state’s 26 hospitals to reduce premium costs by about 25 percent.
“Senators have heard from constituents, patient advocates, business owners and others since Anthem announced their network reductions last week,” said Senate President Chuck Morse, “and many questions still remain as to who will be impacted by these restrictions, what can be done to mitigate their effects, and what steps are being taken to communicate these changes with the public.”
Morse said the bipartisan briefing will give senators a chance to ask questions and air concerns.The new smaller network would not affect Anthem customers who receive health insurance from their employers or if they are on Medicaid or Medicare.Individuals buying insurance through the exchange, the 3,000 people in the state’s high risk pool because they were refused private insurance, and small businesses purchasing insurance through the business exchange will all have to use Anthem’s Pathway network. Small business mandates do not go into effect until January 2015, so few are expected to use the exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act.
There are about 40,000 people with individual health policies in New Hampshire, and about one-third will be exempt from the Pathway network because the policies were purchased before the ACA was enacted.
The remaining individual policyholders will have to use the Pathway network when their policies are renewed.
Concord Hospital, Portsmouth Regional Hospital, Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua, Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough and Alice Peck Day Hospital in Lebanon are not in the Pathway network.
The briefing will be held Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 100 of the State House.