New Hampshire lawyers are convening this week to discuss a long-standing dispute between non-profit organizations and health insurance companies. The issue lies in how these non-profit organizations manage some 80,000 health insurance plans for state workers and retirees. The key figure in the dispute is the Local Government Center, which serves as an insurance administrator for state employees. According to state insurance regulators, the agency has acquired a surplus of more than $100 million and is demanding that the money be returned to taxpayers.
Officials with the Local Government Center insist that the money has, indeed, been returned to taxpayers in the form of insurance rate reductions. These rate reductions were not reserved solely for state employees, but were also given to residents in a number of communities to help make health insurance more affordable. The agency notes that these communities preferred to receive rate reductions rather than a lump sum of money. Regulators, backed by a number of insurance companies, have rejected this notion and have insisted upon the need for the money to be returned to taxpayers so they can use it as they see fit.
Thus far, lawyers from both sides of the dispute have come together to agree on the facts of the issue. Later this week, they will gather again to further discuss actions that will be taken if a settlement cannot be reached. A lawsuit from the Firefighter’s Union claiming that the Local Government Center was not returning surplus funds was dismissed earlier in the year.