What is it?
The New Hampshire Health Access Network is a voluntary effort among the state’s 26 hospitals, many physician practices, and community health centers to assist people who are uninsured or underinsured, in receiving free and discounted care. This statewide Network simplifies access for low-income uninsured and underinsured individuals by requiring completion of only one common application form. Patients meet with a financial counselor to discuss the program and determine if they may be eligible for public assistance programs. Patients who are not eligible for public assistance programs may apply for the New Hampshire Health Access Network. Once enrolled, patients and qualifying family members receive a membership card that allows them to receive health care services at any of the Network hospitals or health care providers in the state for up to six months. They may re-apply for assistance. All the providers in the Network agree to offer levels of free and discounted care that meet or exceed the Network guidelines. The Network is not an insurance program.
Who is it for?
Patients – whether uninsured or underinsured – are eligible for the New Hampshire Health Access Network if they earn up to 200 percent of the FPL. Eligible patients also may have up to $100,000 in equity in their primary residence and up to $10,000 in the bank. Those earning up to 125 percent of the FPL receive free care, while those earning between 125 percent and 200 percent of the FPL receive care on a graduated discounted scale.
Why do they do it?
In 2002, the Foundation for Healthy Communities established the New Hampshire Health Access Network to address the health care needs of the growing number of uninsured and underinsured residents in New Hampshire. Because of the Network’s financial screening process, many of the applicants are now enrolled in state public assistance programs, and patients enrolled in the Network are more likely to seek medical care than they would if they thought they had no way to pay for it. In addition, collaboration among health care providers is helping patients whose medical needs cannot be met by one health care provider alone. Currently, more than 200 provider organizations participate in the Network.
Survey results indicate that approximately 6,000 individuals had NHHAN cards that were being used for hospital services as well as primary care and specialty services.
Contact: Shawn LaFrance
Executive Director, Foundation for Healthy Communities