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

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, January 29, 2014

The deputy insurance commissioner noted that Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has been approved to join the exchange marketplace in 2015 and Minuteman Health Inc. is seeking regulatory approval. He said Minuteman could be a valuable addition because it is a nonprofit organization intent on following a co-op model. "They have a lot of work to do, but we're hopeful they can get up and running, and get in the market in 2015."

With a key procedural deadline looming over the Statehouse, Stiles said she is hoping lawmakers can craft legislation that will encourage more players to enter the exchange marketplace soon. "Conversations are going well," she said. "If it's going to happen, it has to happen before the end of March. … There are still opportunities. I am forever the optimist."

Sherman said there are three managed care organizations serving Medicaid patients through the state Department of Health and Human Services and at least one of them is considering offering a health insurance exchange plan. "Their forte is to provide comprehensive care at low cost," he said.

When it comes to reaching a political deal between the Democratic House and the Republican Senate to advance health care reform efforts in the Granite State, Sherman has adopted a watchful-waiting approach, particularly on the highly contested issue of expanding Medicaid in the state.

"I have co-sponsored bills with them on other issues, but on (Medicaid expansion), they are going to disagree with me," he said of Republicans in the Senate. "We still have hope for compromise on these things, and I want to keep that hope alive."

Christopher Cheney is health plans editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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