ACA to Impact NH hospitals

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and other New Hampshire hospitals may see an increase of patients and changes in healthcare approach as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes into effect in the coming months.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and other New Hampshire hospitals may see an increase of patients and changes in healthcare approach as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act goes into effect in the coming months.

Starting Tuesday, New Hampshire residents and small businesses will be able to compare and purchase state-approved health insurance plans through a federally operated health insurance exchange website. Those who buy plans through the exchange qualify for federal subsidies depending on their income and will have coverage beginning on Jan. 1. The enrollment period represents the first step toward the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, which requires most Americans to have health insurance or pay a penalty.

DHMC and other New Hampshire hospitals may face an initial surge of patients seeking treatment after Jan. 1, similar to what hospitals in Massachusetts experienced following the implementation of the state’s 2006 health care reform law, Geisel School of Medicine professor William Weeks said. The 2006 law mandated a minimum level of insurance for Massachusetts state residents.

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Source: The Dartmouth