Letter: Session on N.H. Medicaid Changes

To the Editor:

You couldn’t ask for a more complex health care climate. On a good day, the opportunity for change is exciting; on a bad day, it is just plain overwhelming and chaotic for policymakers, health care providers and the public.

With Medicaid expansion, the Marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid’s new managed care system, I have no doubt that people are confused.

Medicaid expansion has yet to be approved in New Hampshire. The Legislature will be voting on this important proposal on Nov. 21. Health care providers and others support the expansion because many people in the state who have never been able to afford insurance will at last have the opportunity to access health care services.

The Marketplace, also known as the health insurance exchange, offers another option for those who have not been able to purchase health care services. While the Marketplace is having its struggles with technology glitches, it is reasonable to think that those problems will be resolved in the near future. Insurance plans with a limited network of providers (including hospitals) but reasonable premiums characterize the Marketplace. You can get information about the Marketplace from Planned Parenthood in West Lebanon (603-298-7766) or Service Link in Lebanon (603-448-1558).

Lastly, New Hampshire Medicaid is moving to a managed care system. While managed care is a new way for the state to pay for health care services, it has the potential for improving the quality of care people receive because of the emphasis on prevention. From now until Dec. 1 is the time to enroll if you are a Medicaid client and you wish to select your own managed care company from the three choices available. Clients may need assistance from providers to complete this process. There will be an information session on the New Hampshire Medicaid Care Management Program for both clients and providers on Tuesday, Nov. 5, from 4:30 to 6:30 at the Kilton Library in West Lebanon. RSVPs are appreciated but not required. For more information or to RSVP, please call 603-271-9404.

Rep. Laurie Harding, D