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NH announces partnership with Washington for benefits exchange

On Wednesday, New Hampshire legislators approved Governor Maggie Hassan’s decision to create a health insurance exchange in partnership with the federal government. 

Hassan sent a letter to Washington detailing the announcement two days before the deadline for states that decided against creating a local benefits marketplace to declare whether they plan to create a hybrid system with the federal government, The Associated Press reports.

In her letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the governor stated New Hampshire expects to control plan management, which includes insurer licensing, rate approval, policing unfair labor practices and handling internal grievances. In addition, Hassan wrote the state will oversee consumer assistance, which involves regulating navigators to help consumers find plans on the exchange without giving them purchasing advice, according to Concord Monitor.

The state will rely completely on federal money to operate the health insurance marketplace during its first year of operation.

While the joint legislative committee overseeing healthcare reform has approved the partnership, lawmakers have expressed concern over the uncertainty surrounding benefits exchanges.

“My concerns […] there are a huge number of unanswered questions, unknown commitments, unknown costs and potential programs,” said Senator Jeb Bradley, the newspaper reports. “I am afraid that by moving forward, we are assuming burdens, assuming costs and that pre-emption will be the norm even in a partnership.”

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Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe likes to write about things that matter. Keeping her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the public sector world, she blogs about the latest legislative news and employee benefit trends that affect our school, city and county clients. She’s been with NIS since 2002. “I love connecting to our clients and providing them with the tools they need in order to administrate their plan,” says Erin. “Whether that be materials to educate their employees on certain benefits, how to effectively communicate change within an organization or just providing tips and how-to’s to help them make their job easier.”

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