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Governor sends letter requesting HHS, CMS to open enrollment

CONCORD, NH – Yesterday Granite State Progress and members of the NH Health Care Coalition sent a letter to Governor Chris Sununu and state legislative leaders asking for the State of New Hampshire to request a special open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act amid the COVID-19 public health crisis. A copy of that letter is below and here


This afternoon Governor Sununu sent a letter  to Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requesting the open enrollment period.

Statement from **Granite State Progress **Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“We thank Governor Sununu for listening to the concerns of health care advocates and requesting a special open enrollment period for Obamacare. Early detection and access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services is critical for our state and others to mitigate the potential for further outbreak. A special open enrollment period will allow more people to obtain health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act so we are all better protected against the threat of COVID-19.”

*About ACA Open Enrollment: *New Hampshire is one of 32 states with a federally-facilitated health insurance marketplace. Unless a special open enrollment period is granted, New Hampshire residents are only eligible to enroll in health insurance outside of the regularly scheduled Affordable Care Act open enrollment period if they have certain life events, like getting married, having a baby, or losing other health insurance, including employer-based health coverage. The next *open* enrollment period is not scheduled to begin until late in the year. Granite Staters who lose employer-based or other coverage are encouraged to visit healthcare.gov to explore options available now.

 

*Covering New Hampshire, coordinated by Granite State Progress Education Fund and the NH Health Care Coalition, conducts public outreach and communications to bolster ACA enrollment in New Hampshire in the face of massive federal cuts to open enrollment publicity and assistance. 

*The NH Health Care Coalition is a grassroots coalition of organizations and advocates working to defend and advance access to quality, affordable health care for every Granite Stater.*

*Copy of Letter to Governor Sununu and State Leaders*

*Tuesday, March 17, 2020*

*Dear Governor Chris Sununu, State Senate President Donna Soucy, and State House Speaker Steve Shurtleff:*

UnknownOn behalf of Covering New Hampshire, a project of Granite State Progress Education Fund and the NH Health Care Coalition, we urgently ask you to join members of our federal delegation in requesting that President Donald Trump and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) establish a special open enrollment period for federally-facilitated health insurance Marketplaces to increase Granite Stater access to comprehensive health care during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis.

At this time, New Hampshire residents are only eligible to enroll in health insurance outside of the regularly scheduled Affordable Care Act open enrollment period if they have certain life events, like getting married, having a baby, or losing other health coverage. The next open enrollment period is not scheduled until late in the year.

Early detection and access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services is critical for our state and others to mitigate the potential for further outbreak. Nearly 77,000 New Hampshire residents, or 6% of the state's population, do not have health insurance. A special open enrollment period will allow more people to obtain health care coverage through the
Affordable Care Act so we are all better protected against the threat of coronavirus COVID-19.

This step will further complement the decision of the NH Insurance Department to require insurance companies to provide testing for COVID-19 without cost-sharing. Based on our experience with ACA open enrollment public education and outreach, we recommend requesting at least 60 days for the special open enrollment period to ensure adequate time to inform
Granite Staters about the option and give them time to compare plans and enroll.

Thank you in advance for your efforts to do everything we can to increase access to quality, affordable health care amid this public health crisis.

Sincerely,

*Zandra Rice Hawkins*

*Exec. Director, Granite State Progress*

*Program Manager, Covering NH*

*Jayme Simoes*

*State Director, Protect Our Care NH*

*Consultant, Covering NH*

*Lisa D. Beaudoin*

*Executive Director, ABLE NH*

*Randy Hayes*

*Co-Convener, Healthcare Working Group*

*Kent Street Coalition*

*Christina D'Allesandro*

*State Director, NH MomsForce*

*MomsRising Together*