- Associated Press - Thursday, August 10, 2017

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A company that provides health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and the state’s expanded Medicaid program confirmed Thursday that it will offer plans next year, adding a bit of certainty to the tumultuous individual market.

Ambetter by NH Healthy Families covers 77,100 Medicaid and health insurance marketplace members. The company said it will remain in the market for 2018 and is committed to working with state officials to stabilize the market and offer affordable options.

Two other companies, Anthem and Harvard Pilgrim, have announced intentions to offer plans but have not confirmed their decision. They have until Sept. 27 to sign contracts with the federal government.

Both Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny and Republican Gov. Chris Sununu said Ambetter’s decision is heartening at a time when great uncertainty remains in Washington over the fate of former President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law.

“Today’s announcement by Ambetter is very welcome news and is a result of a rigorous effort to stabilize and preserve New Hampshire’s individual market until Obamacare is reformed. As I have previously stated, my administration has been engaged in an intensive and productive dialogue with our insurers to do whatever we can to keep them in New Hampshire’s individual market,” Sununu said. “We appreciate Ambetter’s commitment to New Hampshire and this announcement ensures that New Hampshire will not experience a market failure.”

Republicans in Congress have been unable to deliver on a promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. An analysis released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that President Donald Trump’s mixed signals on the issue have created significant uncertainty and led insurers to seek higher premium increases for 2018 than they would have otherwise.

Some premiums in New Hampshire are expected to increase by more than 40 percent. The state insurance department has been working on a plan to offset those hikes, but a legislative committee recently rejected a key part of the program it wanted to enact.

About 98,000 individuals in New Hampshire are covered through the state’s federally facilitated Obamacare marketplace; about 43,000 of those are Medicaid recipients. Among the non-Medicaid recipients, the average monthly premium this year was $399, though nearly two-thirds of the individuals receive subsidies or tax credits, dropping the average to $242.

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