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N.H. Insurance Dept. Seeks Approval for 'Reinsurance' Program to Soften Steep Rate Increases

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After failing to make a decision one way or another last week, a small group of state legislators could weigh in today on whether to give an initial green light to a plan from the New Hampshire Insurance Department meant to help prevent steep rate increases.

The agency wants to create what they’re calling a “reinsurance” program: It would involve asking insurers operating in New Hampshire to pay money into a pool, which could then be used to reimburse insurance carriers as a way to soften projected rate increases in the year ahead. The insurance department also wants to ask the federal government for money to help stabilize this reinsurance plan.

The department says these steps are needed to deal with rising health costs and losses across the board among the state’s health insurance carriers who were selling plans on the individual market.

Gov. Chris Sununu has previously said he supports the insurance department’s attempts to stabilize New Hampshire’s marketplace, but he doesn’t think asking carriers to pay into a reinsurance program is a good idea because he worries those costs will end up being passed onto customers.

The joint health care reform oversight committee met to discuss the issue last week but wanted more time to explore questions about how it would work. The committee is set to meet again at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning in Concord.

The insurance department has also scheduled two separate public hearings on the reinsurance proposal this week: one on Wednesday in Concord and another on Thursday in West Lebanon.

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