During Affordable Care Act open enrollment from November 1 to 24, 11,434 Granite Staters signed up or re-enrolled in health care coverage. Last year, 14,895 Granite Staters signed up during the same time period. National enrollment to date on the HealthCare.gov platform is at 2,424,913, compared to 2,781,260 last year. National enrollment has been pacing about 300,000 fewer health care consumers this year since the start of the open enrollment period.
"New Hampshire enrollment is steady though pacing around 3,000 fewer consumers than last year's open enrollment time frame,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress Education Fund and project manager for Covering New Hampshire. “We are running slightly ahead of enrollment at this time in 2016 but we only have about two weeks left instead of another 8 weeks. We encourage all Granite Staters to sign up for health care coverage by the open enrollment deadline of Saturday, December 15th. Only individuals who qualify for special exemptions will be able to qualify for enrollment and financial assistance after that date."
Covering New Hampshire, run by Granite State Progress Education Fund and the NH Health Care Coalition, is working with local health care providers and advocacy groupsto fill the gaps and bolster enrollment in New Hampshire after substantial cuts to open enrollment publicity and assistance across the nation.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services allocated only $10 million for ACA enrollment publicity and outreach to consumers to inform them about available coverage and financial assistance — a 90 percent cut from under the Obama Administration. The Trump Administration also cut navigator funding, which supports enrollment, each of the last two years. This year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is making only $10 million available for consumer assistance in the 34 states, including New Hampshire, where the marketplace is facilitated by the federal government. The navigator budget for last year's open enrollment period was $36 million, while it was $63 million the previous year. In total, navigator funding has now fallen more than 80 percent from its 2016 level.
“It is important that people sign up by December 15th, regardless of whether this is your first time getting covered or if you are returning to shop and save,” said Jayme Simoes of Covering New Hampshire. Coverage could be cheaper than you think. Last year, 8 in 10 people qualified for financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable and most people found plans available between $50 to $100 per month. Even if you had coverage through HealthCare.gov in the past, plans change so you should still update your information and double-check your network coverage for doctors and prescriptions, or see if you qualify for more cost-savings.”
New Hampshire residents who wish to enroll through the Marketplace can do so in a number of ways, including:
- Online at Healthcare.gov
- By phone by calling 1-800-318-2596
- With in-person help from an enrollment assister
- Through an insurance broker
- With a paper application mailed to the Health Insurance Marketplace
For more information about finding an assister, insurance broker or obtaining a paper application, go to CoveringNewHampshire.org. New Hampshire residents can also seek in-person help at a number of upcoming enrollment fairs throughout the state. A full list of enrollment fairs and other resources is available at the Covering New Hampshire website.