December 12. 2013 12:50PM

New health insurer to enter NH marketplace in 2015

The Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplace will have another option beginning in 2015.

Minuteman Health Inc. of Massachusetts has been approved by the Department of Health and Human Services to expand into New Hampshire and form a new health insurance co-op, according to U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H.

Currently, Anthem is the only insurer providing health insurance coverage in the New Hampshire marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as ObamaCare.

"Today's announcement means that current Anthem individual market consumers will be able to keep their hospitals and doctors until next year's open enrollment, when they will have at least two insurers competing for their business," Shea-Porter said. "I am pleased that New Hampshire families and individuals will have more choices for coverage, and I will continue working to increase competition and drive down health care costs."

Granite State residents will be able to sign up for plans through the new co-op during 2014 open enrollment, with coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2015, Shea-Porter said.

Americans for Prosperity – New Hampshire (AFP-NH) issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying Minuteman Health currently operates in Massachusetts, where they have a provider network that consists of just 25 of the over 100 hospitals across that state. Currently, only Anthem offers policies through the exchange, and has provided a "narrow network" of 16 of the state's 26 hospitals where covered individuals can get care.

"While it's a positive that there will no longer be a monopoly within the ObamaCare exchanges for one insurer, it's worth noting that the federal government is adding an insurer that runs an even narrower network in Massachusetts than Anthem's new New Hampshire network," said Greg Moore, AFP-NH state director. "Minuteman's network doesn't cover a number of major Massachusetts hospitals, like Mass General, Brigham & Women's, Children's Hospital or even Boston Medical Center. Their track record shows that they are likely to have an even smaller network in the Granite State than Anthem's reduced list. While some competition is better than none, this news is unlikely to offer any relief to those individuals who have lost access to their local hospital under ObamaCare insurance policies."