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New Hampshire Health Care Navigators Secure $1.6 Million in Federal Grant Awards

A doctor measures the blood pressure of a patient.
With more federal funding, New Hampshire Navigators plan to increase direct outreach.

After cuts under the Trump administration, organizations that help people purchase insurance through the Affordable Care Act have now received $1.6 million in federal funding. Known as New Hampshire health care navigators, the operating budget for these roles totaled 100,000 dollars in 2020. Navigators provide free enrollment aid and education about health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, helping Granite Staters select plans and understand subsidies.

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With more funding comes plans for community-based navigators. The renewed grassroots effort will be a significant change from recent years. Due to previous funding cuts, a few navigators have been operating remotely from West Virginia on a team of six that serves four states. Now, they’ll be able to have more direct outreach.

With the new money, the program's director, Jeremy Smith has a new model. His organization, First Choice Services, will continue to offer a helpline for New Hampshire remotely and hire more staff. In addition, three New Hampshire partners, The Foundation for Healthy Communities, Harbor Care, and Lamprey Healthcare will have local navigators in New Hampshire that can coordinate with Smith.

Another organization, Health Market Connect, also received funding and plans to hire 13 new navigators across the state. Elias Ashooh, the project director, says they’ll be focusing on assisting with plan use after enrollment.

“What's the point of having insurance if you can't use it?” Ashooh asks.