Facing the potential for high 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 he could prevent the plan from reaching federal officials.
The state on Wednesday posted its proposed Section 1332 waiver, which state officials 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 companies and limited federal funding, which could provide a collective $45 million to cover the cost of high-cost claims.
This would enable companies offering plans on the individual market to lower their rates, state health officials said.
But the proposal lost the support of a key lawmaker: New Hampshire's governor Chris Sununu.
"I do not support the assessment on health insurance carriers because I fear those costs will be passed along to consumers," Sununu said in a statement.
If state health officials keep the insurer tax in the finalized waiver request, Sununu could prevent the proposal from ever reaching the CMS for approval, according to Danielle Barrick a spokeswoman for the New Hampshire Insurance Department.
The CMS approved the first ever 1332 waiver out of Alaska earlier this month. The state got permission to use what would have been federal premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions to fund a reinsurance program.