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Shaheen urges feds to approve NH Medicaid expansion

State House Bureau
March 26. 2014 10:28AM

CONCORD - After lawmakers approved expanding Medicaid eligibility, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is urging federal officials to approve the state's plan.In a letter to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Shaheen urged the department to work with the state to “expeditiously develop and approve any waiver necessary to ensure a successful expansion of the Medicaid program in the state.”The state needs federal permission to use private insurance purchases through the state's health exchange to cover those who qualify when eligibility is expanded to 138 percent of the federal poverty level or about $15,856 for an individual.“The expansion of Medicaid in New Hampshire will extend insurance coverage to approximately 50,000 people in our state,” Shaheen said in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Many of the New Hampshire residents who will benefit from the Medicaid expansion are hard-working adults who do not have other insurance options.”The bipartisan plan, developed by Republican and Democratic Senate leaders, was approved by the House Tuesday. The Senate approved the plan earlier this month on an 18-5 vote.For the next three years, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost. Lawmakers will have to reauthorize the program when the state begins paying a portion of the costs, which is currently capped at 10 percent.Once the bipartisan plan is enacted, New Hampshire will become the 26th state to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.The state's health care providers are expected to be paid about $340 million a year for services provided to the 50,000 people who qualify under expansion.About 12,000 people who qualify and have insurance through their employers would begin coverage under an existing state program in four to six weeks.The other 38,000 would go onto the state's Medicaid managed-care program July 1 and then move to private insurance during 2016 if a waiver is approved by March 31, 2015. If the waiver is denied, the program would end in six months.

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