- Associated Press - Friday, June 5, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire consumers and small-business owners shopping for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law will have more plans to pick from next year, and every hospital in the state will be included in at least two provider networks, insurance officials said Friday.

The third enrollment period opens Nov. 1 for coverage that will take effect in January. Four of the insurers offering health plans will be repeat players - Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Maine Community Health Options and Minuteman Health. The fifth, Ambetter, will be new. Assurant, which participated this year, will not return.

Altogether, the companies will offer 81 plans, said Michael Wilkey of the New Hampshire Department of Insurance. The number of plans for individuals will increase from 42 to 51, while the number of plans for small businesses will jump from 18 to 30. In 2014, Anthem was the only company selling health plans through the online insurance markets created by the law, and only 14 plans were available.

“We’ve come a long way from 2014, when we were out there with one carrier,” Wilkey said.

Each of the state’s 26 acute-care hospitals will have contracts with at least two insurers, and both Harvard Pilgrim and Maine Community Health have contracts with all 26. Although the numbers could change, Anthem now has contracts with 21 hospitals, Minuteman has contracts with 12 and Ambetter has contracts with 11.

With a few exceptions, the networks span all 10 of the state’s counties. Harvard Pilgrim has two networks, one that covers the entire state and a lower-cost network that does not include Carroll County. Minuteman’s network does not include Cheshire County.

There also will be four companies offering dental plans, eight plans for individuals and seven for small businesses.

The insurance department will be accepting public comment on the proposed networks until Aug. 15. It has until Aug. 25 to make recommendations to the federal government.

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