Out-of-state health insurance bill on life support

Would you like the chance to buy your health insurance out of state? Well the Senate Commerce Committee recommended earlier this week to kill a bill that would allow you to do so. But with only a 3-2 vote in favor of axing the measure, it's not dead yet.

Senate Bill 150 would allow businesses to buy insurance in states that don't have many of the mandates that New Hampshire imposes.

"It cost me $1,700, when I could buy it in Kentucky for $792," said Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Henniker, a business owner. He said buying health insurance should be like buying auto insurance.

The state Insurance Department can make sure that outside insurance companies are solvent, he said, and the uncertainty of federal health care reform made concerns about adverse selection – that outside companies would only take the healthiest individuals, leaving the sickly behind – obsolete.

"Give the business community this right, which will cut people's premiums," he pleaded.

But Sen. Ray White, R-Bedford, said the measure would create an "unlevel playing field" for companies admitted on New Hampshire. Those companies, which would have to provide the mandated coverage, would be "playing with both hands tied behind their backs."

"I'm not interested in driving our companies out of business," said White, a benefits consultant, though he added he would support SB 150 if enough of state mandates were eventually repealed.

The two will probably have it out again next week on the Senate floor. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW


Categories: Health