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HIX Pains Now, But Hope for Long-Term Relief in NH

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, January 29, 2014

Chris Dugan, communications director for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of NH, flatly denied the company had written off any providers. "This is certainly not the case," he said. "More than 90 percent of our customers will continue to use Anthem's broad network, which includes all of the state's hospitals. Importantly, we also anticipate that many of the individual members purchasing an exchange product in 2014 will have previously been uninsured. That means that all New Hampshire hospitals should benefit from a reduction in the amount of uncompensated or charity care"

Dugan said Anthem expects to continue doing business with all of the hospitals in New Hampshire through other products. "The fact that a hospital or provider was not chosen for this network is not at all a reflection of Anthem's relationship with that provider," he said. "Anthem views all of its contracted providers as high quality and is pleased to continue to partner with them on the vast majority of our business for small and large groups, senior, and grandfathered plans."

Single-Player Marketplace
While acknowledging that a more competitive marketplace is desirable, state Deputy Insurance commissioner Alex Feldvebel said the federal exchange's modest beginning in New Hampshire is in line with regulators' expectations.

"It wasn't too surprising that in Year One there was only one player," he said of Anthem Pathway, adding, "it wasn't surprising that Anthem was the only player."

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