Insurance options to expand for NH consumersBy MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader
June 04. 2014 12:31AM
Frisbie Memorial Hospital has inked deals with three insurance companies that plan to offer health insurance packages on the Obamacare exchange at healthcare.gov, with hopes to negotiate a deal with a fourth, according to its chief executive.
“The people who want to take advantage of the economic benefits of the Affordable Care Act can come to Frisbie,” hospital CEO and President Al Felgar said in an interview Tuesday.
The Rochester hospital and Minuteman Health, based in Massachusetts, announced their deal Tuesday.
“Minuteman did not sign an exclusive agreement with Frisbie, which means that Frisbie can sign contracts with other carriers on the exchange,” said Jim Borghesani, spokesman for Minuteman.
Last October, Anthem was the only company to offer health insurance packages on the exchange for coverage starting in January 2014.
Since then, Minutemen Health and Harvard-Pilgrim Health Care have said they will offer insurance products for coverage starting in January 2015.
The state Insurance Department this week announced that two other companies planned to offer products to New Hampshire consumers: Maine Community Health Options and Assurant Health.
Felgar said Frisbie has signed deals with Harvard, Minutemen and Maine Community Health Options and hasn’t yet begun discussions with Assurant but hopes to conclude a deal.
Felgar previously has complained that Anthem, at the time the only one involved on the exchange, was excluding 10 Granite State hospitals, including his own, from the Anthem network.
“They have not indicated they want us in their network, so we’re still out,” Felgar said Tuesday.
Anthem in February said it narrowed its provider network to reduce premium costs.
Chris Dugan, Anthem’s senior director of public relations in New Hampshire, didn’t comment directly on Frisbie’s deals.
“The implementation of the ACA has been an extraordinary opportunity for the uninsured and those who struggle to afford coverage in our state,” Dugan said in an email. “While all other carriers have chosen to sit out the launch of the exchanges in New Hampshire, Anthem has been there from the beginning and will continue to be an essential player. We look forward to continuing to serve our members and their families to ensure they have access to quality, affordable care.”
In 2012, Frisbie saw 30,866 patients in its emergency room. It recorded 3,586 total admissions, with its physicians performing 1,426 inpatient and 5,279 outpatient surgeries, according to a statement announcing the Minuteman deal.