The New Hampshire Insurance Department released a draft of new network adequacy rules last week. The rules move beyond specific travel time and provider access, and instead focus on access to services.
According to a press release from the Department, "'core' services, such as primary care, pediatrics, substance abuse, and mental health would be accessible within a patient’s nearest community," while more specialized services, such as oncology, might require travel within the state or New England.
Patients in the North Country might be expected to travel farther than patients in urban areas.
The Insurance Department started the rule revision process after approving Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield's "narrow network" for 2014. Anthem's narrow network excluded 10 of the state's 26 hospitals, but allowed Anthem to offer lower premiums. Many lawmakers and policy holders protested the decision of the Insurance Department, especially because Anthem is currently the only company offering health insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchange.
The proposed new network adequacy rules may require Anthem to revise its network. However, the focus on services over providers may still allow insurance companies to exclude some hospitals.
The Insurance Department is accepting public comment until August 21. E-mail your thoughts to Danielle.Barrick@ins.nh.gov.
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