Riding the Health Care Reform Roller Coaster: Assuring NH Residents Are Covered in 2018

Following a series of failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the bi-partisan Alexander- Murray proposal is an encouraging and important move in the right direction to maintain health care coverage for millions of Americans and tens of thousands of New Hampshire residents. The agreement would continue cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) through 2019. This means that insurers would continue to receive funds to lower flagACA 1deductibles and co-pays for lower-income consumers thus avoiding higher premiums or forcing insurers to leave the ACA marketplace. The latter would leave people with limited insurance options. Both New Hampshire Senators Shaheen and Hassan were co-authors of the bill with 10 other Democrats and 12 Republicans. They have both been ardent supporters of a collaborative approach to health care reform that continues to cover New Hampshire residents in need, that is affordable and sustainable, that continues to provide for those with pre-existing conditions and that covers preventive services.

The proposed agreement restores partial funding for outreach and education for consumers and enrollment assistance that has been cut by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Therefore, we as advocates for assuring the health of the public, need to get the word out to consumers relative to open enrollment.

The NH Department of Insurance has distributed a press release providing information on how New Hampshire residents can sign up for insurance for 2018. Open enrollment runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017 through the federally facilitated Health Insurance Marketplace (www.Healthcare.gov) Individuals who are currently covered through the federal Marketplace must go through the enrollment process again. There have been changes in insurers for 2018 so some people will need to choose a new health plan.

Help is Available

This process can be confusing and unwieldy. Fortunately, there is help for those trying to find their way through.

  • Health insurance assisters are available, free of charge, in communities throughout the state to answer any questions about health insurance and enrollment through the Bi-State Primary Care Association.
  • Those enrolled in the New Hampshire Health Protection Program will receive information from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services about how to select a plan for 2018
  • If individuals are enrolled in the federal Marketplace for 2017, they will receive renewal information from their insurance company and the Marketplace
  • The NH Insurance Department website can help people find an enrollment assistant to walk through the how to use the Marketplace or a licensed agent who can help select a plan.
  • If people have questions in using the Marketplace and obtaining coverage they can call the federal government at (800)318-2596 Once they have coverage they can call the Insurance Department with questions or concerns at 1-800-852-3416 or contact outreach coordinator Eireann Apsell at 603-217-3781 or Eireann.aspell@ins.nh.gov
Marilyn Sullivan, Project Coordinator for Outreach and Enrollment at Bi-State Primary Care Association emphasizes, “The New Hampshire Health Insurance Marketplace is open for business. Consumers still have options for a valuable and important insurance product. People looking for insurance can call one of our assisters to help them through the process.”

Let’s keep New Hampshire residents insured and assure they have access to health care by letting consumers know about the enrollment dates and resources available to help.
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