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June 03--The marketplace is about to get bigger for Granite Staters shopping around for health insurance.
The N.H. Insurance Department announced Monday that five companies will begin offering health care coverage in the state beginning next year. Only Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Hampshire offered plans this year under the provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, and the company has come under fire for excluding from its coverage network 10 of the state's hospitals -- including Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough.
Joining Anthem in 2015 will be Assurant Health, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of New England, the Massachusetts-based co-op Minuteman Health and Maine Community Health Options, a co-op that will start by offering plans in Rockingham, Strafford, Carroll and Coos counties. However, the Maine group plans to expand its reach later in the year to offer a broader provider network in its coverage area, the insurance department said.
This is the first year of operation for the New Hampshire Health Insurance Marketplace, which was established by the federal government under the Affordable Care Act. This year, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield was the only insurance company offering health insurance plans on the Marketplace.
"Having a larger number of carriers will give consumers many more choices in terms of cost, plan design, and provider network," Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny said in a statement.
According to the Associated Press, during the health law's first enrollment period, more than 40,000 New Hampshire residents selected health plans, more than twice the target set by the Obama administration. New Hampshire exceeded its target by a greater percentage than any other state in which the federal government operated the insurance market.
(c)2014 The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.)
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