November 15. 2013 2:32PM

Anthem, Insurance Department reach agreement

State House Bureau

CONCORD – The state Insurance Department reached agreement today with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire to allow individuals to renew their 2013 health insurance plans through the end of the month.

Originally policy holders had until today to renew their policies, but now will have until Nov. 30 for policies that extend through Nov. 30, 2014.

Anthem's 2014 individual policies have a narrower network with 16 of New Hampshire's 26 hospitals, compared to the 2013 policies which included all 26 hospitals.

The department warns however, renewing the policies may be more expensive because policy holders will not be eligible for federal subsidies available for 2014 policies through on the federal insurance marketplace.

"The glitches in the federal Marketplace have caused great concern for those New Hampshire citizens who get coverage through the individual market," said Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. "While many will ultimately qualify for federal subsidies, they have not been able to fully understand their options or to confirm enrollment in Marketplace plans due to the technical problems with the website. Today's agreement will give them the security of knowing that they can continue with their current plans and providers into calendar year 2014, if they choose to do so. Once the Marketplace website is fully functional, they will be able to opt for new coverage if they so choose."

Sevigny said he and his department will continues to review Thursday's announcement by President Obama that allows states and insurance companies to extend 2013 policies into 2014.

He said he expects to be able to provide more information early next week on what this change will mean for New Hampshire consumers.

More than 22,000 of Anthem's individual or family policy holders were told their policies would be discontinued because they do not meet the requirements under the ACA beginning Jan. 1.

The act requires 10 general areas of coverage, but state's decide what are the "essential services" that must be included in every health insurance policy.

New Hampshire's essential services are the same as those provided under Anthem's Matthew Thornton Blue plan.