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June 17. 2014 8:23PM

Hospitals included in at least three insurer networks

CONCORD — All 26 New Hampshire hospitals will be included in at least three insurance carrier networks under proposals submitted to the New Hampshire Insurance Department.

Five insurance companies plan to offer health coverage on the state’s insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act for 2015 and two of those five expect to include all 26 hospitals in their networks. Another carrier expects to include 25 of the 26 hospitals, but insurance department officials warn the networks are likely to change before the companies began offering plan on the marketplace in November.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only company offering health insurance through the marketplace this year. The company was criticized because its Pathway network included just 16 of the 26 hospitals.

Next year two other private insurers, Harvard-Pilgrim and Assurant, and two cooperatives, Maine Community Health and Minuteman, will offer plans on the marketplace. That will increase the number of plans from 14 this year to more than 50.

“This is a preview of what has been submitted to the department, and we have just started our review,” said Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny at an information session Tuesday. “The networks are still under review and may be changed before they are offered in November.”

The department will review the proposals and make recommendations to the federal government by Aug. 10. The federal government will decide final approval in September and enrollment will begin Nov. 15 for coverage beginning Jan. 1.

“We absolutely support the additional number of carriers entering the Marketplace, and we look forward to more individuals having access to health care throughout our state,” said Steve Ahnen, president of the NH Hospitals Association.

Some insurance companies are still negotiating with hospitals said agency attorney Jennifer Patterson and expect to add other hospitals to their networks but at least several will include all 26 hospitals.

The insurers will offer both individual and small group policies through the marketplace with the exception of Assurant, which will offer only individual coverage.For 2015, Anthem’s network will have 17 hospitals in all 10 counties in the state and Maine Medical Center and Lahey Hospital in Massachusetts. The company added Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua and Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, while Elliot Hospital in Manchester and Littleton Hospital declined to participate next year.

Assurant will have 25 hospitals in its network, all but Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital in Colebrook, while Maine Community Health Options will have all 26 hospitals plus Maine Medical Center but offer plans only in the four eastern Granite State counties of Rockingham, Strafford, Carroll and Coos.

Harvard Pilgrim will offer two networks, one with 12 hospitals in partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Elliot and Southern New Hampshire. In the other network, the company hopes to include all 26 hospitals but is still negotiating with the state’s two for-profit hospitals Parkland in Derry and Portsmouth.

Minuteman currently has 13 hospitals in its network, none in Merrimack and Belknap counties but insurance department officials said the company continues to negotiate and hopes to have more by November.

Another information session is scheduled Thursday in Conway and a public comment period on the plans runs until July 8.

grayno@unionleader.com


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