Open Enrollment Opens for Affordable Care Act Insurance

Nov 1, 2018

Zandra Rice Hawkins (left), US Senator Maggie Hassan (center), and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (right) urge people to sign up for insurance before December 15.
Credit Sarah Gibson for NHPR

November 1st is the first day of open enrollment for people who buy health insurance offered through the Affordable Care Act.

People have until December 15 to select a plan from Anthem, Harvard Pilgrim or Ambetter that meets standards of the Obamacare program. 

Last year, about 50,000 people in New Hampshire participated in the program.

Some lawmakers and health advocates worry this number will decline because of confusion about the ACA and an increase in other insurance options.

 The Trump administration has drastically cut the length of enrollment and funding for advertising and staffing to help people sign up.

It has also made it easier for ACA consumers to opt for cheaper "short-term" policies that don't meet ACA guidelines for covering pre-existing conditions and certain medical services.

In a press conference in Manchester on Thursday, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan and Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter joined healthcare advocates to urge New Hampshire residents to decline these "short-term" policies and opt for ACA policies.

Zandra Rice Hawkins of Granite State Progress said ACA plans aren't neccessarily more expensive.

"There is a lot of financial assistance available through the Affordable Care Act and the marketplace plans, so people should not discount themselves before they've actually gone through the application to see what they might qualify for."

Tess Kueunning, President/CEO of the Bi-State Primary Care Association said New Hampshire consumers can get help navigating their options on the phone or in person from a certified assister at one of the state's community health clinics.

"You'll be able to find someone who is trusted and is not biased," she said,"And will actually help you understand what is your income, how many people are in your family, what kind of plan will work for you and your family."

People can also shop for Affordable Care Act insurance online at www.coveringnewhampshire.org or www.healthcare.gov.