FEBUARY 2023 Brentwood Newsletter
Thank you to the constituents in Brentwood, Fremont, and Danville who have entrusted me with another term of representing you in Concord. This session I have been assigned to the Municipal and County Government Committee, as well as the Special Committee on Housing. I look forward to the opportunity to push for more respect for property rights in these positions. However, another concern has been brought to my attention and I wanted to share with you what I have learned.
Since the implementation of ObamaCare, health insurance providers have made significant changes to their offerings, or withdrawn from the market altogether. While some individuals may be aware of these changes, those who obtain coverage through their employers may not have noticed significant alterations, aside from increasing costs. In 2023, another alteration to the insurance market in New Hampshire emerged, which has yet to significantly impact employer-provided plans but has already impacted a number of constituents who purchase health insurance on the “open” market. I have confirmed with the NH Insurance Department that insurance companies in NH no longer include plans that allow in-network providers located outside of the state. Additionally, all insurance providers have shifted towards plans that only cover out-of-network providers for emergency care. Patients now need insurance company approval for out-of-network referrals showing a need to go out-of-network before claims from those providers will be paid. The process of obtaining approval can be burdensome, and even if approval is granted, it may only be valid for a limited number of visits.
The insurance companies' actions are an effort to limit their exposure to the high costs associated with utilizing the Boston-area medical system, which is among the most expensive in the world. They aim to "encourage" individuals to utilize lower-cost alternatives within New Hampshire, even if it means traveling further distances to see a doctor or being deprived of a doctor with whom you have worked for a long time. These are currently the only plans available to individuals purchasing insurance on the open market in New Hampshire, and it is likely this trend will extend to employer-provided plans as well. Employers who self-insure, where their employees constitute the risk pool, may soon be the only ones to offer plans that cover out-of-state doctors, albeit at out-of-network coverage rates.
Some individuals who have been relying on specialists located in Boston have expressed dissatisfaction with the news that insurance in New Hampshire will no longer cover the costs of seeing their doctors. This has led to renewed calls for federal legislation that would allow individuals to purchase insurance in any state. That solution, however, has been discussed for some time without any significant progress, causing some individuals to consider relocating to Massachusetts in order to continue receiving care from doctors they have been working with for extended periods, particularly for severe chronic conditions.
Reach out to me at Josh.Yokela@leg.state.nh.us to share your thoughts.
Hon Rep Josh Yokela
Representing Brentwood, Danville, and Fremont