Enacting the most significant measure in decades to strengthen the health of New Hampshire's families and communities, Governor Maggie Hassan today signed into law SB 413, bipartisan legislation that accepts federal funds to expand access to health coverage to 50,000 Granite Staters.
"Our bipartisan health care expansion plan is a historic step forward for the health and financial well-being of Granite State families, businesses and communities," Governor Hassan said. "It is a fiscally responsible, uniquely New Hampshire solution that will inject $2.5 billion in federal funds into our state's economy and improve the lives of 50,000 hard-working people who deserve the security of health insurance.
"By reaching bipartisan consensus to expand health coverage, we have demonstrated again that, in New Hampshire, we are able to work across party lines to solve problems and make progress for our people and our economy," Governor Hassan said.
The bipartisan plan will use federal Medicaid funds available through the Affordable Care Act to help New Hampshire citizens at or under 133 percent of the federal poverty level -- around $16,000 for an individual -- access health insurance. The plan will help reduce levels of uncompensated care at hospital emergency rooms, encourage primary and preventive care, and provide coverage for substance abuse and mental health treatment.
Under the health care expansion plan, if a qualifying individual has access to private coverage through an employer, he or she will be able to enroll in the employer-based coverage through the state's Health Insurance Premium Payment (HIPP) program, which will pay for the individual's premium and cost-sharing. For other eligible individuals, coverage will be available through a private managed care company beginning as soon as July 1, 2014.
Beginning in 2016, the plan moves the newly eligible individuals who are not participating in HIPP onto the state's federally facilitated health insurance marketplace to purchase private coverage through a new premium assistance program funded by the federal government. Elements of the plan are subject to the state securing federal waivers from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services.
"Helping low-income workers purchase private coverage through the health insurance marketplace will support our efforts to attract competition in order to improve affordability and increase choices for coverage for all New Hampshire citizens," Governor Hassan said.
"I want to thank Senate President Morse, Speaker Norelli and all of the legislators from both parties who worked together to pass this legislation," Governor Hassan said. "Our continued collaboration is essential throughout the federal-waiver and implementation process. We must continue to put ideology aside and focus on our common purpose and common vision in order to maximize the benefits of health care expansion for our people and our economy."