New Hampshire lawmakers find agreement on healthcare bills

Eight measures head to governor, six more OKd in conference committees

New regulations governing hospital mergers. Dental benefits for Medicaid recipients. Mandated insurance for fertility treatment. These were among the 14 healthcare-related bills approved by New Hampshire lawmakers over the last two weeks.

Some of the measures were passed last week, as the House or Senate accepted the other’s amendment. Others were hammered out this week, as House and Senate conferees worked out differences between two versions of the same bill. The last agreement – changing the work requirements for those receiving expanded Medicaid – was reached Thursday.

Here is a list of what passed last week. They are all on their way to the governor:

  • House Bill 552, which would require the Charitable Trusts Division of the Department of Justice, in evaluating mergers of healthcare nonprofits, to consider whether the merger would increase access to quality affordable health care.
  • HB 692, which would allow and encourage the Medicaid managed care program to provide dental benefits.
  • Senate Bill 58, which would require health insurers to reimburse providers at rates that reflect the increased cost 3D mammography.
  • SB 251, which would make it an unfair insurance practice to refuse to insure an applicant who has filled a prescription for opioid antagonist, such as Narcan, even if it is for someone else besides the patient.
  • HB 359, which would require that providers and pharmacies label any opiate with an orange sticker on the cap or dispenser and a warning label regarding the risks of the drug.
  • HB 364, which would permit qualifying patients and designated caregivers to cultivate cannabis for therapeutic use or to donate to other patients.
  • SB 80, which would require the board of mental health practice to adopt rules for the timely action on license applications by qualified provider applicants.
  • SB 225, which would give physician assistants the same authority as doctors in certain mental health practices.

Here are the bills that committees of conference reached agreements on. They still have to be approved by the full House or Senate, or both, before going to the governor, but it is rare when a legislative body overturns a committee of conference recommendation.

  • SB 226, which would require registration of pharmacy benefit managers.
  • SB 279, which would require insurers to cover fertility treatment.
  • SB 290, which would loosen the work requirements needed to receive expanded Medicaid coverage.
  • HB 508, which would allow for expansion of direct primary care, which involves medical providers offering care on retainer, via a regular payment plan, without going through insurance companies. The legislation makes it clear that it isn’t an insurance product.
  • SB 228, which would allow association health plans, but with strict restrictions ensuring that the new alternative can’t force rates up in the individual market, if such plans survive a federal court challenge. (The language on the agreement was not available at deadline)
  • SB 194, which would regulate how an insurer prepares for and handles breaches of customers’ personal and financial data.
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