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Official: Medicaid expansion may bring disruptions
However, Tyler Brannen, health policy analyst for the state Insurance Department, said within six to 10 months providers will respond to the new payers and make adjustments.
Insurance officials also told the commission appointed by the Governor, Senate President and House Speaker to study the effect Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act that subsidizing private insurance premiums for low-income individuals could be problematic under current ACA guidelines for the state.
Deputy Insurance Commissioner Alex Feldvebel told the commission such a plan would require a waiver from the federal government and additional services to match those required under Medicaid.
Last week state health and human services officials said one problem with the Arkansas plan to use private insurers to expand Medicaid is the federal requirement that consumers have a choice. They said only one company has been approved to participate in New Hampshire's exchange, which will be run by federal officials.
While the deadline has passed for adding qualified New Hampshire insurers to the exchange, agency officials said a national company could still be added by federal officials. The three managed care companies the state hired to run the yet-to-be implemented Medicaid managed care program could also join the exchange, said life and health legal counsel Jennifer Patterson, but not until 2015 because the deadline has passed for 2014.
Brannen noted that in 2011 health insurance premiums increased 4 percent but benefits decreased by 5 percent and in 2010 premiums increased 3 percent, but benefits were reduced by 10 percent.
He said reduction in benefits comes through employees paying more of the costs. "The bottom line is people have more skin in the game," he said.
The commission was created during the budget-writing process when the Republican-controlled Senate balked at expanding Medicaid eligibility as Gov. Maggie Hassan and the House had proposed.
The commission meets Tuesday to hear from a panel of national experts on Medicaid and then meets again Aug. 13 and 27.
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