An unprecedented 93 percent of all Medigap Plans in New Hampshire are “standardized.” Non-standardized Plans were no longer sold after 1993 and a variety of standardized Plans are available. The most favored Plan across the nation is Plan F, which also comes with a high-deductible option. There are 27,945 New Hampshire residents with Plan F.
However, the interesting trend in this state is the adoption of Plan J at 19,482 Plans. Plan J is a popular option across the board, but no other state boasts such close rankings between F and J. Plan J was nixed at the federal level in 2010 which means nearly 20,000 New Hampshire residents haven’t switched to a different Plan in 20 years. To compare rates on plans available in your area, fill out the zip code form.
Medicare Advantage is expanding to three counties in New Hampshire just in time for election season when most people renew Medicare policies. The new counties include Carroll, Hillsborough, and Rockingham. Medicare Advantage is a blending of Medicare Parts A and B with the option of also including Plan D for prescription drug coverage. Medigap beneficiaries must have both Plans A and B in order to qualify. The goal of the expanded coverage is to reach more Medicare recipients.
The race for New Hampshire’s second Congressional seat is neck and neck. However, the two candidates vow to take two very different approaches to Medicare. The democratic candidate Ann McLane Kuster is rallying behind keeping Medicare as untouched as possible. The republican candidate Charles Bass insists that while he supports Medicare, changes are necessary. The tight race means that New Hampshire residents are torn and the impending changes to Medicare have a lot of people on edge.
The state soon has to decide if it will opt out of the Medicaid expansion or not. The Affordable Care Act requires each state to choose to extend the program for low-income seniors or to axe the program in the state. Some residents believe that opting out of the expansion is the only choice for a healthier state budget.
However, residents who support the expansion point to the worsening of a fledgling healthcare system and job losses. Medicaid has already experienced cuts at the federal level that have cost about 1,000 jobs in New Hampshire. Many low-income seniors have no affordable option besides Medicaid. Fewer Medicaid disbursements have been made to New Hampshire residents which caused quality of care to suffer. New Hampshire is facing a choice of digging deeper into debt with the expansion or causing the job loss and health suffering of thousands of residents.
Studies suggest that people with coverage who receive ongoing and preventative care live longer lives and are healthier. These residents will also incur less medical costs in the long run. A recent study compared states that aggressively expanded Medicaid and those that did not. The states that didn’t expand saw an average mortality rate increase of 6.1 percent. If those figures are translated to New Hampshire that means an additional 284 people are expected to die per year and those deaths might be preventable.
The high cost of the expansion is what has half the state wavering. It’s estimated that expanding Medicaid to 50,000 more people over the next ten years will cost the state $58.3 million. However, other studies suggest that New Hampshire will actually see a gain between $7 million and $49 million by 2020 if Medicaid is expanded. There is research available to support either side of the argument and the state doesn’t have much longer to make a decision. The result will impact thousands of New Hampshire residents who are Medicaid beneficiaries or approaching the 65-year mark.
A 2008 law made the reimbursements hospitals received from Medicare much lower. The 2011 additional cuts made it even worse for hospitals. Every time a Medicare patient visits a hospital, the reimbursement is so low that the hospital is actually losing money. Ten New Hampshire hospitals have filed a $100 million lawsuit against the state in order to regain lost funds. The state has tried to get the lawsuit dropped, but that hope has failed.
Every state is allowed to govern the amount of Medicaid reimbursements under the federal Medicaid Act. The ten hospitals are proposing that the cuts violated the federal Act and it seems like the suit is moving forward. However, this is expected to be a long and lengthy process and it’s yet to be determined if the hospitals have a viable lawsuit on their hands. Hospital representatives claim that they simply can’t afford to keep treating Medicaid patients with the stringent budget cuts. To compare Medigap plans in your area, fill out the zip code form and view rates.
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