N.H. governor slams waiver aimed at stabilizing market
Facing the potential for large premium increases, New Hampshire will seek a waiver allowing it to create a high-risk fund for individuals on the marketplace. The state’s Republican governor immediately pushed back on the proposal, and could prevent the plan from reaching federal officials.
State officials last week proposed a Section 1332 waiver they say will save the federal government $9 million in advance premium tax credits for next year, promote marketplace stability and reduce the risk of dramatic rate increases in the individual marketplace.
The proposed state-operated reinsurance program would be funded both by a new tax on insurance compa- nies and limited federal funding, which could provide a collective $45 million to cover the cost of high-cost claims.
The goal is to prompt companies offering plans on the individual market to lower their rates.
But New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said he fears any additional costs will be passed along to consumers.
If state health officials keep the insurer tax in the finalized waiver request, Sununu could prevent the proposal from ever reaching the CMS for review, according to Danielle Barrick, a spokeswoman for the New Hampshire Insurance Department.
The CMS approved the first-ever 1332 waiver out of Alaska this month. The state received permission to use what would have been federal premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions to fund a reinsurance program. Under a 1332 waiver, states can ask the federal government for permission to change elements of the ACA that apply to private health insurance coverage. The option only became available Jan. 1 of this year.