Private Medicaid expansion gets another supporter in NH

New Hampshire has all but sealed the deal to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act using a private option similar to the one championed by Arkansas.

State House lawmakers passed the legislation Tuesday after the Senate approved it earlier this month. The bill now moves to Gov. Maggie Hassan (D), who already has said she would sign it into law.

Under the legislation, New Hampshire will seek a waiver from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by next March to allow eligible residents to enroll in private plans that the state purchases using federal funds, the Associated Press reported.

While the state waits for the CMS waiver, it will enroll its eligible consumers in Medicaid this summer and transition them into buying plans sold on the federal health insurance exchange in 2016, according to New Hampshire Public Radio.

But if CMS denies the waiver, the state will phase out those consumers' coverage over three months.

"I look forward to signing this bill into law as quickly as possible and to working with members of both parties throughout the implementation process in order to maximize the benefits of healthcare expansion for our people and economy," Hassan said Tuesday in a statement.

Similar to Arkansas, New Hampshire legislators would have to reauthorize the Medicaid expansion program; otherwise, it will end in 2016. The expansion also will get discontinued if federal funding decreases below 100 percent, unless the legislature continues the program.

New Hampshire's actions leave only five undecided states--Pennsylvania, Virginia, Missouri, Utah and Indiana--regarding Medicaid expansion.

To learn more:
- see the Associated Press article
- read the New Hampshire Public Radio article
- here's Hassan's statement