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Lawmakers approve deal aligning NH insurance rules

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Legislature has approved a narrowly drawn bill to align some of New Hampshire’s insurance rules with President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law.

The state insurance commissioner had argued a long list of changes was needed to preserve the state’s traditional role in regulating insurance plans and to prevent marketplace disruption and confusion. Opponents questioned if the changes were a move to a state-operated insurance exchange, which is prohibited by law.

The compromise specifies that insurance companies providing coverage to individuals and small businesses will follow federal regulations in terms of the demographic factors used to set rates. Those factors include age, tobacco use and geographic location, though the compromise clarifies that New Hampshire will continue to be considered one geographic rating area.