The New Hampshire Vaccine Association (“NHVA”) was formed pursuant to the provisions of New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated (“RSA”) Chapter 126-Q. NHVA is a cooperative undertaking among the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the New Hampshire Insurance Department, and the insurance industry. RSA 126-Q was adopted by the New Hampshire Legislature effective June 17, 2002 and amended in 2005. Copies of the statute as well as other key governance documents for NHVA are available for downloading from www.nhvaccine.org.
As of the turn of the millennium, New Hampshire was one of a handful of states insuring that all resident children have access to vaccines. The U.S. Center for Disease Control has placed childhood immunization among the “top 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century”. Medical literature establishes that routine childhood vaccination saves lives. It is safe and cost effective. Moreover, routine childhood vaccinations protect the public health of all New Hampshire citizens including adults and those who cannot be immunized. Hence, the Department of Health and Human Services has identified universal childhood vaccinations as a core public health responsibility (like water and sanitation). Information concerning New Hampshire's Immunization Program, such as potential new vaccines to be added to the program, may be obtained at the public meetings of the New Hampshire Immunization Advisory Committee.
The State of New Hampshire presently purchases all vaccines recommended under the U.S. Childhood Immunization Schedule. They are purchased for all resident children, regardless of insurance coverage or income, through 18 years of age. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community and Public Health Immunization Program also provides key support for the vaccination program including:
• assessments of immunization rates for schools and providers
• outreach and education to the public and to providers
• vaccine inventory management, storage, shipping and quality assurance.
As one of the handful of universal purchase states, New Hampshire qualifies for significant federal contract discounts on all vaccines. Hence, major cost savings, system-wide, become available for both insured and non-insured populations.
Recognizing the benefits of capturing these cost reductions and reducing the risk of certain communicable diseases in the State of New Hampshire, several insurance industry leaders partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services to seek to preserve New Hampshire’s economically favorable status. Contributions from the private industry had been unpredictable, as they understandably had been affected by other industry trends affecting private insurers. A legislative study commission sought to provide, through RSA 126-Q, a more stable and equitable mechanism for allocation of the private industry share.
With the guidance of the New Hampshire Insurance Department, RSA 126-Q’s collection mechanism was designed around the same allocation formula applicable for the New Hampshire Health Plan (NHHP) formed under RSA 404-G. At the request of NHVA, the NHHP has made covered lives information reported by carriers available. These reports are part of the public data filings made by carriers under RSA 404-G. By using the same assessment base, NHVA avoids the cost of maintaining a separate mechanism and carriers avoid the burden of separate reporting.
NHVA’s Board is comprised of (i) three insurance industry representatives (chosen based upon New Hampshire market shares), (ii) two health care provider representatives appointed by the Commissioner of Health and Human Services and the (iii) New Hampshire Commissioners for the Health and Human Services and the Insurance Departments. The Board has selected KidsVax®, LLC to administer the program and serve as its executive director. Kindly address inquiries to the New Hampshire Vaccine Association c/o KidsVax® at P.O. Box 1885, Concord, NH 03302-1885. (See also www.kidsvax.org.)