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Anthem to send letters to NH insured

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield is expected to tell its individual, non-grandfathered policyholders that they will have to renew their health care plans by Nov. 15 if they want to keep the plan as is.

The letter going out Friday applies to the insured who are in the individual market and are not expected to participate in the Marketplace exchange plan that Anthem offers under provisions of Obamacare.

It says policyholders in the preferred provider plan should renew by Nov. 15 for coverage in 2014. In general, their premiums will be higher than those under the Marketplace plan, but they will have access to more physicians, hospitals and prescription drugs

U.S. Rep. Carol Shea Porter, D-N.H., released the letter late Wednesday.

"While I'm pleased with the many consumer friendly provisions (of Obamacare), more needs to be done to drive down deductibles and premiums and increase insurance competition so everyone in our state has access to quality, affordable health insurance," Shea-Porter said in prepared remarks.

She said she's disappointed that New Hampshire's Marketplace is comprised of only one insurance company, and it chose to offer a narrow network of hospitals. That insurance company is Anthem Blue Cross.

According to the letter, a 40-year-old non-smoker on the silver tier will pay a $288 monthly premium in the Marketplace exchange plan and face a $2,500 deductible. Anyone who qualifies for financial help in the exchange must use the Marketplace plan.

That same person on the Blue Cross preferred provider plan that is not associated with the Marketplace will pay a premium of $368 a month and face a $3,000 deductible. However, the network is larger and may cover prescriptions not allowed in the Marketplace plan.

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