Supporters of Senate Bill 131 which allowed individuals and businesses to buy health insurance from out of state insurers would encourage market competition and keep the premiums low and more affordable was what supporters of the bill felt. When similar bills were introduced earlier they did not have much impact. Now with the introduction of The Affordable Care Act 10 essential services have to be offered in all the 50 states and each state would decide on what these essential services would be.
"If it's good enough for Alabama, it ought to be good enough for New Hampshire," said the bill's prime sponsor, Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford. "I want everyone to be able to find affordable health insurance." Sanborn noted New Hampshire has some of the highest health care premiums in the country and allowing out-of-state competition would help drive down those costs.
AdvertisementHe said he could buy his auto, life and homeowners insurance from any company in the country, while only health insurance had to be purchased from a state-regulated carrier.
"I am concerned this bill would jeopardize state mandates," said Jeanne Brown of Goffstown, who is a diabetes educator and counselor. Without covering the same treatments and procedures, out-of-state carriers may offer less expensive insurance, but premiums would rise for New Hampshire plans, opponents said.
Insurance department officials said the problem was not state regulation it was provider networks. "To be competitive, you need contracts with providers that are competitive with current carriers," said Insurance Department health policy analyst Tyler Brannen.
To be able to negotiate contracts with provider discounts with big time carriers like Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, you had to have a plan with the company's network in the same state. Each state had their own set of mandates, he noted, with some states having fewer than New Hampshire and some more. The committee asked Brannen to provide a state-by-state list of the different mandates.
Both Brannen and Insurance Department legal counsel, Jennifer Paterson, said the Affordable Care Act had standardized plans, but noted all states were different.
Source: Garry Rayno
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