Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Health Care Advocates Discuss Open Enrollment in NH, Talk to Granite Staters about the Importance of Coverage under the Affordable Care Act
Concord, NH — Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined Protect Our Care NH and advocates for an event about open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, at a time when the Granite State is seeing record COVID-19 cases. The good news is that the lower premiums, made available through the American Rescue Plan, are a key factor to encourage more Granite Staters to enroll in coverage through the ACA Marketplace this year. As policy options have grown, more consumers have looked at the market, and new navigators are in the state to help people interested in signing up for 2022. The affordable plans may be selected any time until January 15, 2022.
This event is timely as the Build Back Better Act awaits a vote in the Senate. Already passed in the House, this legislation represents the most significant expansion of affordable health care since the passage of the ACA. The legislation includes two top priorities Shaheen secured, including provisions from her legislation to expand and enhance the Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credits, as well as provisions to lower the cost of insulin. Additionally, the legislation includes historic measures to improve the American health care system by giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices, expanding affordable coverage to millions by closing the Medicaid coverage gap, increasing Medicare benefits, and investing $150 billion in home care for seniors and people with disabilities. Health care is a fundamental part of the Build Back Better agenda, and the plans to reduce costs and expand care are the top issues for voters.
President Biden and patient advocates have been fighting to pass historic health care investments as part of the Build Back Better Act. The health care measures in Build Back Better will lower costs, improve and expand access to lifesaving care, and transform the American healthcare system. The legislation will provide coverage for millions of families and lower health insurance premiums for more than nine million Americans who buy healthcare on their own. Closing the Medicaid coverage gap is the single most important step Congress can take to reduce racial inequities in health care, and it will save lives. Expanding hearing benefits in Medicare and investing in home care will significantly improve the health and well-being of seniors and people with disabilities nationwide. ACA Premium Credits. The American Rescue Plan (ARP), enacted in March, increased the size of premium and cost-sharing assistance for individuals enrolling in coverage offered through Affordable Care Act exchanges. The higher level of subsidization is scheduled to expire after 2022. BBB would keep the revised and the higher level of premium assistance in place through 2025.
During the event Friday morning, Sen. Shaheen spoke of the importance of getting coverage in light of the rising COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire, noting the recent news that New Hampshire now has the highest transmission rate in the United States, per capita.
“As COVID cases climb in New Hampshire, access to quality, affordable health care has never been more important to protect our communities,” said Senator Shaheen. “That’s why I joined local advocates today to encourage Granite Staters to sign up for health insurance through the ACA. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve successfully worked to lower costs for premiums and deductibles so families don’t break the bank on health care, as well as to ensure treatment is available for those suffering from the substance use disorder crisis that’s been exacerbated by COVID. I’m also pleased that new Navigators are available to help individuals choose the plan that’s right for them. I hope Granite State families explore these resources to shop for affordable, quality health care plans leading into the January 15th deadline.”
Recent legislation passed by Congress has increased the affordability of plans on the Marketplace. Premiums have gone down in New Hampshire 10% since last year, and there is added coverage for prescription drugs, such as insulin, that will help make healthcare more affordable.
Also part of the event was Greg White, CEO of Lamprey Healthcare, a community health center that serves the Newmarket and Raymond areas.
“As a safety net organization, we serve everyone, but the fact someone has coverage allows them access to more resources that we cannot provide,” said White. “We offer primary care, but without insurance, you may not be able to get medications you need. Accessing specialty care is essential, as well as diagnostic services, x-rays, and CAT scans.”
Sen. Shaheen was joined by Lisa Beaudoin as well, Executive Director of ABLE NH, an organization that advocates for people with disabilities. She emphasized the need for insurance to protect against unforeseen health issues, something she had personal experience with. A severe car crash in December 2018 Beaudoin catastrophically injured three of her limbs. In the weeks and months since, Beaudoin required numerous surgeries and physical therapy to walk again. All told, her treatment would have cost her nearly $1 million had she not enrolled weeks before the accident enrolled in a Marketplace plan.
“Poverty is both a cause and consequence of disability and these healthcare costs of these expenses would have put me in position to file for bankruptcy. I would have lost everything,” she said. “Enroll, enroll, enroll because you just never know when you will be in a severe accident or have a chronic health condition come upon you.”
You can watch the event here.