New Hampshire health commissioner confident approval to continue Medicaid expansion is coming

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CONCORD, New Hampshire — New Hampshire's health and human services commissioner says he is confident that the federal government will allow the state's expanded Medicaid program to proceed as planned.

The state is awaiting federal approval for a waiver needed to continue the plan passed by the Legislature last year. That plan calls for using federal Medicaid funds to buy private health coverage for adults making less than 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, about $15,856 a year for a single adult.

More than 34,000 people have signed up under the expanded program since July 1. Commissioner Nick Toumpas told the Health Exchange Advisory Board last week that a significant number of them were previously uninsured.

Under state law, the waiver must be approved by March 31 for the program to continue. Toumpas said based on his communication with federal officials, he has every confidence that approval will be granted.

The program is projected to cost $340 million a year when fully implemented and would use 100 percent federal funding through 2017. Coverage will end if federal funding drops below 100 percent and ends regardless at the end of 2016 if the Legislature doesn't reauthorize it.

The budget proposed by Gov. Maggie Hassan last week includes $12 million to continue the plan in the second half of 2017 when federal funding drops below 100 percent.

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