Shaheen, Hassan highlight Obamacare enrollment opening
By HOLLY RAMER
Oct. 30, 2017
MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire's U.S. senators reminded residents Monday about the upcoming open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act.
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan held a news conference Monday to inform residents of two things: the signup period starts Wednesday, and that they object to the Trump administration's efforts to dismantle the Obama-era health care law.
The senators were joined by representatives from organizations that will assist those who want to sign up or change their coverage, including Tess Kuenning, president of Bi-state Primary Care.
"You all have a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker. Just ask them, if they're covered," she said. "When you go to your Thanksgiving dinner, make sure you're being a voice for those who don't know about this."
The open enrollment period, which ends Dec. 15, is much shorter than in previous years, and funding for advertising it was cut. Shaheen and Hassan said that makes it all the more important for people to spread the word informally among friends and family about the deadline.
"It's the most important holiday shopping you can do," Hassan said.
The signup period comes after President Donald Trump abruptly ended federal payments that reimburse insurers for reduced copays and deductibles they're required to provide to people of modest means. Shaheen and Hassan are backing bipartisan legislation to restore those payments, but the three companies providing health plans in New Hampshire set their rates assuming they wouldn't get the money.
A recent analysis conducted for the insurance department estimated that among the 97,000 people in the state's individual market, 74 percent who either get federal subsidies or are part of the expanded Medicaid program likely will see their premiums drop or remain flat in 2018. But the 26 percent who pay the full cost will see increases averaging 52 percent.
"Despite what many people may think, despite efforts by the leadership in Congress to roll back and repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite the rhetoric of the president and the administration, the Affordable Care Act remains in place," Shaheen said. "You can still sign up."