NH HealthFirst gives smaller employers hope
Less than one year ago, employers, workers and elected officials joined forces to create NH HealthFirst, a new health insurance plan that promises to lower premiums for small employers by about 15 percent. At a time when most of us are worried about an increase in our health insurance costs, NH HealthFirst is indeed most welcome. That’s why New Hampshire Voices for Health and owners of small businesses such as Print Solutions are joined together in support of NH HealthFirst. On May 4, New Hampshire health insurance companies wishing to do business in the state were to present detailed plans about how they will meet the guidelines of NH HealthFirst. We sincerely hope the insurers will propose plans that are fairly priced and that give our state’s small businesses and their employees a shot at real affordable, quality coverage. The New Hampshire economy is built on small businesses, and the vast majority of New Hampshire residents working for small employers rely on those employers for their health care coverage. Unfortunately, coverage is becoming increasingly a burden on small businesses. Many of us face huge premium increases each year — stretching our budgets, straining our profits, making it harder and harder for us to provide the coverage our employees deserve. Confronted with rising health insurance costs, and lacking the “numbers” to negotiate better rates with the insurers, small-business owners basically have three bad options: try to somehow absorb these cost increases, increase costs for our employees or - as is the case more and more frequently in recent years - drop coverage altogether. NH HealthFirst provides the small employer community real hope for good coverage at a price that’s affordable. An independent actuary has determined that carriers in the state can offer these reduced-cost plans and still can pay for health-care costs and recoup a necessary margin for administrative costs and profit. Small businesses in the Granite State look to the insurance carriers to do the right thing and price these plans reasonably and fairly.
Lisa Kaplan Howe is director of New Hampshire Voices for Health, a network of organizations and individuals committed to securing quality, affordable health care for all in New Hampshire. Kevin Boyarsky is owner of Print Solutions in Concord.