CONCORD — The three companies chosen to manage health care for about 180,000 New Hampshire Medicaid recipients reassured state officials Monday about their commitment to the state.
The Executive Council, which will soon vote on contracts totaling nearly $1 billion over five years, held a public information session to hear from the two current managed care companies — Well Sense and New Hampshire Healthy Families — and the third poised to join them, AmeriHealth Caritas. While Councilor Russell Prescott said he worries that adding a third company will result in lopsided enrollments that could force one company out of the market, Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers said he was confident each company's market share would be fairly equitable within 18 to 24 months.
"Having three plans helps ensure there's real competition among the plans," he said. "With less than three and a market this size, there's arguably less incentive. I think there's an advantage to the state and ultimately an advantage to those who are insured."
New Hampshire expanded its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act in 2014 to include adults making up to 138 percent of the poverty level. The state initially used federal money to put participants on private insurance, but changed to a managed-care model in reauthorizing the program last year.
Russell Gianforcaro, regional president for AmeriHealth, emphasized the company's top-rated performance in some of the 11 states where it already has Medicaid contracts, which he attributed to a strong focus on customer service and community engagement. He said company officials have spent the last two years reaching out to providers and other stakeholders in New Hampshire to gain understanding of its future customers. He highlighted programs that have both improved outcomes and cut costs, including delivering meals to patients after they leave the hospital.
"In any state where we do business, we want to be a great partner," he said. "We are transparent, we are honest, and we work very closely with all the organizations in a community."
Questioned about the company's withdrawal from Iowa in 2017, Gianforcaro said it left after the state refused to renegotiate unsustainably low rates.
Officials with the other companies pointed to their track records in the state. Lisabritt Solsky, executive director at Well Sense, described her company's "whole-person" approach to take into account behavioral and social health in addition to physical health. Well Sense is partnering with community mental health centers to further that mission, she said, with Well Sense care managers physically located in the clinics.
New Hampshire Health Families President and CEO Jennifer Weigand highlighted a program that rewards participants for health activities focused on prevention, while vice president Chris Kennedy emphasized the company's New Hampshire-based workforce, including its call center workers.
"People who pick up our phone know the difference between Coos County and Rockingham County," he said.