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New Hampshire Health Insurance

New Hampshire Medical Insurance Overview
The state of New Hampshire’s overall health is pretty good when compared to the rest of the country as a whole.  It has dropped from third place to fifth since 2011, according to stats revealed by the United Health Foundation.

In 2014, the percentage of people without any kind of health insurance crept up to 7 percent, according to data presented by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.  This has seen a decrease from 11.3 percent in 2011.  While the overall health of New Hampshire’s residents is good, there is hope that the latest healthcare legislation will offer hope with regard to strengthening weaker areas.

The Affordable Care Act was implemented in 2010 and it placed requirements on every state in the country to have an active health benefits marketplace prior to 2014.  With all of the healthcare initiatives introduced, it is estimated that 30 million more U.S. residents will have the ability to enjoy health insurance coverage between now and 2020.  This will also help decrease the number of people living in New Hampshire without insurance coverage.

New Hampshire’s Health Care Issues
New Hampshire is in fifth place when compared to the statistics of the health of the country as a whole.  While that is a good number and one of the best in the country, it still appears to be lacking in certain areas.

The state’s strengths include a high rate of immunizations among its children, a low percentage of children who live in poverty and a high immunization rate among adolescents.  Weaknesses in the state include its low per capita health funding, its high prevalence of excessive drinking and its high percentage of deaths related to drug complications.

Understanding New Hampshire’s Uninsured Population
Roughly 95,000 residents living in the state of New Hampshire do not have health insurance coverage as of 2014.  This figure has dropped from 125,600 in 2011 and is still lower than the national average of people who are uninsured.  The majority of the uninsured parties who live in New Hampshire are families who have at least one full or part-time worker.

Of those living in New Hampshire, the following facts are available from the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation with regard to the uninsured, non-elderly residents of the state:

  • 18% of the uninsured population earns below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
  • 21% of those uninsured people earn between 100-199% of the FPL
  • 4% of people who earn 400% or higher than the FPL do not have health insurance coverage

Group Health Plans
Group coverage is typically available at your job if they offer such benefits.  To be sure that your employer offers this type of health insurance, check with your Human Resources department.  Employees who are covered under benefits packages through the workplace can enjoy a variety of medical services and their employer will offer a contribution toward the premiums, which is usually half of the cost.  Under a group policy, you cannot be turned down because you have a pre-existing condition.  For those people who are unable to secure benefits through the workplace, you should seek insurance coverage of the same caliber through an organization like a trade union that offers coverage to its pool of members.

Signing Up
In order to sign up for your workplace’s benefits package, you should find out when your company’s open enrollment period is.  These periods of time can vary depending on the company and typically occur once per year.  For any questions regarding the open enrollment period, see your company’s Human Resources Department.  The representatives will be able to provide you with all of the necessary information in order to properly research your health insurance options through the employer-sponsored benefits plan.

Consider the following information before you sign up for your company’s benefits plan:

  • Whether or not you need to cover any dependents or your spouse.
  • If you have pre-existing conditions and the amount of medical care you will need as a result.
  • Options for coverage – are they affordable to you and will they offer enough coverage for you and/or your dependents?

Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion Periods
Pre-existing condition exclusion periods are the length of time that an insurer can exclude you from using your health insurance due to a pre-existing medical condition.  Because of HIPAA, insurers cannot deny coverage to you based on your pre-existing medical condition.  However, they can require you to wait through an exclusion period before your benefits can be enjoyed.  In the state of New Hampshire, you can be subjected to this kind of exclusion period for up to nine months.

Insurance companies are not permitted to enforce exclusion periods on any dependent who is 19 years of age or younger.  In addition, health insurance providers are able to look into your medical history for a period of three months to make the determination of whether or not you have a pre-existing condition.  Lastly, if you have a genetic predisposition to an illness, it cannot be looked at as a pre-existing condition unless you have received a diagnosis from your physician.

Affiliation or Waiting Periods
Waiting periods are the period of time it takes for an insurance policy to go into effect.  Waiting periods apply to all persons enrolling into a plan for coverage without regard to health status.  In the state of New Hampshire, a waiting period can last for two months.  The waiting period can be extended to three months for those persons enrolling into the plan late.  In the event that a pre-existing condition exclusion period is in effect, this will run concurrently with the waiting period.

Individual Health Plans
If you can’t get coverage through a group plan because you need more coverage or your employer does not offer such benefits, you may be able to obtain insurance through an individual policy.  In the state of New Hampshire, 6% of residents have this type of plan.  It can prove to be difficult to obtain this sort of coverage because insurance companies can limit coverage through medical underwriting.  While many individual policyholders typically pay around $294 for coverage, it is estimated that a mid-twenties non-smoker in this state can obtain coverage for monthly premiums of $57 with a high deductible amount.

In New Hampshire, the look back period is three months and the maximum amount of time for exclusion periods is nine months for those suffering from pre-existing medical conditions.

Continuation Coverage
If you have lost your health insurance coverage for any reason, there exist a few options for obtaining continuation coverage.  The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) can provide up to year and a half of coverage to individuals who were previously secured on a group plan offered by an employer meeting certain size requirements.  Likewise, the supplier of your group insurance plan may offer you a conversion plan. This means that the group plan gets converted into an individual policy, allowing you to stay with the same insurance provider.

New Hampshire Health Benefit Exchange
In 2012, former Governor John Lynch signed legislation prohibiting the state of New Hampshire from participating is a state-based benefits marketplace.  However, the bill was designed to allow the state to retain control of plan management functions.

The state’s new Governor Maggie Hassan announced in 2013 that the state of New Hampshire would participate in a state-federal partnership for its benefits exchange.
Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, 70 percent of the state’s residents have seen tax credits in the amount of $244 every month.  Consumers are able to access their health insurance and state-funded program options on healthcare.gov as of 2014.

New Hampshire State Insurance Programs
In New Hampshire, the state offers many programs that benefit the population of uninsured consumers.  Aimed toward helping increase the quality of health in the state overall, these state-funded insurance options make health insurance affordable to families belonging to low income households.  Eligibility requirements differ based on the program and typically factor in the applicant’s age, sex, health status and income.

The following programs are provided to residents in New Hampshire: CHIP, Medicaid, Healthy Kids, WIC, Let No Woman Be Overlooked, Medicare, the New Hampshire Senior Prescription Discount Program, the VA Medical Benefits Package, the Partnership for Prescription Assistance and the NAMI Helpline.

For more information on the state-funded programs for residents living in the state of New Hampshire, consult this guide provided by Benefits.gov.

New Hampshire CHIP
CHIP offers insurance benefits to children belonging to low income households.  This is provided as part of the Medicaid program in New Hampshire.

Medicaid
The Medicaid program in New Hampshire is state and federal funded.  It serves people who earn a lower than average income and are eligible based on health status, age and gender.  Among the provided services are preventive care and institutional care for elderly and disabled individuals.  It also offers transportation services to those people who are unable to make it to doctor’s appointments, etc.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
WIC is available to low-income women, infants and children under five to receive supplemental food assistance, nutritional education and guidance, and referrals for healthcare.

Let No Woman Be Overlooked Program
This program offers screenings to women in the state of New Hampshire for breast and cervical cancers.  Through education and screenings, it hopes to reduce cancer related deaths in women through the use of early detection methods.

Medicare, and Medicare Prescription Drug Program
The Medicare Program is for seniors over the age of 65, disabled individuals and those suffering from end-stage renal disease.  If you have worked in a job position that was covered by Medicare for at least ten years, you can qualify for coverage under this program.

New Hampshire Rx Card
Thanks to a free, printable prescription card, residents living in New Hampshire can get assistance for the rising costs of prescription medications.  This program is available to everyone living in New Hampshire without regard to income level or health status.  Savings is up to 75% off of the costs of many prescription drugs.

VA Medical Benefits Package
The VA Medical Benefits Package was designed to provide veterans in any branch of the military with comprehensive benefits as long as certain requirements are met.  To be eligible, the vet must have served out his or her active duty requirement or least 24 consecutive months in the armed services and have received an honorable discharge.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance provides a resource to connect consumers with 475 prescription assistance resources.  This program endeavors to cut costs for prescription drugs for consumers nationwide through the free service.

National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline
The NAMI Helpline is staffed by volunteers who offer resources and a wide range of informational services to people all across the United States who are suffering from mental illness.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act was passed into law on a federal level in 1996 and has protected consumers from limitations to health insurance and denials.  The law works to prohibit group health insurance providers from denying coverage due to a pre-existing medical condition and keeps consumers from being discriminated against because of different medical criteria.

HIPAA also allows residents to receive continuation coverage under COBRA if they have lost coverage for any reason.

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