Today is 9-11

FirstRespondersI am a parent. One of the things we do is teach our children how to escape if our house is burning. In schools and other public building we have fire drills to teach us how to run out of the building. We are all running out of the building, from the fire. There are other parents in our communities who will do the opposite. These volunteers will be leaving their jobs or homes and rushing to go into ours and save it, or save us. There is a lot of conflict in the world today. Those fights will still be there tomorrow. Let’s make today about giving thanks in our small communities to the brave souls who, with what we can afford to equip them with, will drop everything at a moments notice and rush to help us.

I’m grateful for the police, firefighters, ambulance personnel,  and everyone else who is wiling to help us in our most extreme times of need, no matter the risk to themselves.

Steve

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Federal Government Announces 2020 Premium Rates

CONCORD, NH – The federal government has published information on proposed rates for New Hampshire’s health insurance exchange (HealthCare.gov) in 2020.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department looks at premiums each year from a market-wide perspective, comparing the median premium for an on-exchange silver-level plan covering a 40-year-old non-tobacco-user. For 2019, the median premium at this level was $440; the median premium at this level for 2020 would be $429, based on the carriers’ proposed rates. If these rates are ultimately approved, this would represent a 2.5% decrease between next year’s and this year’s median premium in the individual market.
“New Hampshire has had two consecutive years of modest premium rate decreases,” said Insurance Commissioner John Elias. “Rates are still high, particularly for NH residents who do not qualify for premium assistance, and we are continuing to work collaboratively with insurance companies and policymakers to pursue other efforts to improve health insurance markets in New Hampshire.”

The 2020 rate information released by the federal government details proposed annual rate changes for benefit plans that are submitted by insurance companies operating on HealthCare.gov. The New Hampshire Insurance Department is prohibited by law from releasing rate information until Nov. 1, the first day of open enrollment. A benefit plan is a specific plan that a New Hampshire resident would select for enrollment, such as a bronze, silver, or gold level metal plan.

“I am pleased to see that New Hampshire insurance companies are anticipating a decrease in the cost of premiums for the second year in a row,” stated Governor Chris Sununu. “This is a stark contrast to previous year’s premium increases and is due to our commitment to working with the insurance companies to decrease premiums and deliver real savings for the people of our state.”

Three companies have filed rates with the intention to offer products the exchange in 2020 for New Hampshire: Ambetter, Anthem, and Harvard Pilgrim. The companies have until Sept. 24 to commit to selling plans on HealthCare.gov for the 2020 plan year.

The Department advises consumers that the only way to receive an accurate premium rate amount is to update your application on HealthCare.gov each year. The amount of premium assistance you may qualify for changes each year depending on your age, financial status, and household size. An insurance agent or enrollment assister can help you update your application.
The New Hampshire Insurance Department Can Help
The New Hampshire Insurance Department can help you with questions or concerns about your existing coverage. To speak to a member of the Consumer Services Department, call (800) 852-3416, (603) 271- 2261 or email consumerservices@ins.nh.gov.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department’s mission is to promote and protect the public good by ensuring the existence of a safe and competitive insurance marketplace through the development and enforcement of the insurance laws of the State of New Hampshire. For more information, visit http://www.nh.gov/insurance.

Media Contact:
Eireann Aspell Sibley
Communications Director
Office: 603-271-3781
eireann.sibley@ins.nh.gov

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State Budget – Dangerous Deal

Those of you who have had to sit through a hearing with me have my heard my rant about keeping it simple. If it takes an accountant and a tax attorney to explain what we did to you, we did it wrong. The state budget writers did it wrong. They included enough stuff that you want to make you want the budget. Unfortunately, this is like those high risk mortgages that collapsed the housing market. It will seem wonderful at first, probably past the next election, and then it will collapse. You won’t have that stuff that you wanted, and you will have a giant bill… just like all those victims who had their property foreclosed.

Weyler: HB 1 “Minority Report”

In the last ten budgets, it was unusual to see a large increase in the revenue from one biennium to another. Most of the time it was about 200 million increase, unless there had been tax increases. Then it might be more. The revenue we are seeing available from the last budget is a one-billion-dollar increase. That is after a tax decrease! The people who do the revenue estimates are all saying this is likely a one-time event driven by repatriation with an 8% Federal Tax. All are predicting revenue will decrease after 2021. This is a wonderful opportunity to do some one-time projects and still allow for some increases where needed in state government. This budget does not follow that sensible approach. Instead it uses all the money to grow government to a level where it cannot be sustained in future. With the growth of government comes a reduction in our population’s freedom, and likely increases in future taxes. It gives big increases to education and does not recognize that school districts need to make decisions that reflect the reality of major declines in enrollment. As the adequacy payments go down with the shrinking student counts, districts need to adjust. The evidence is that they are not, but are instead insisting on more state money. This will be followed by higher property taxes. This budget leads us in the wrong direction.

Weyler: HB 2 “Minority Report”

Since HB 1 by law, can only contain the budget numbers, HB 2 is the device by which the enabling legislation is included. This could mean tax changes, reassignments of personnel, department reorganizations, and descriptions of new programs created in the budget. Unfortunately, there is always room for abuses. So, bills that were retained, or amended, sometimes find new life in this bill. The greatest abuse is to add programs which did not have any public hearing in either body, and may be a last-minute idea by one of the conferees. A very controversial “Pet Vendor licensing” was added with little public hearing, as was the tax on vaping as well as adding the 21-age requirement. The wish to add more money for public education does not seem to recognize that this demographic is shrinking, while the elderly population is growing. Areas where the money was taken from to increase Education funding by 45 million dollars, show the bias of the Democrats. The rate increase for Public Charter School Students of 2.5 million was repurposed for regular public education; and the Secretary of States 1.5 million in “Investor Education Funds” which was destined for the FRM Settlement, was included in that 45 million. The 45 also included a highway project, and a trooper reallocation money. Although we keep hearing the basic adequacy number of $3,636 per pupil, the real average contribution, with all the differentiated aid is about $6,000 per pupil. HB 2 started with a little over 200 sections, and ends with well over 400. It is difficult to track all the changes, and perhaps that is by design.

subprime

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