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Granite State Rumblings: Thousands Of Granite Staters Flock To Healthcare.Gov Before March 31 Deadline

The website Healthcare.gov has been the butt of a lot jokes the past few months. In fact, President Obama, himself, joked about it last week on the web series, “Between Two Ferns.” That viral video had a lot of people talking and a lot more heading to the Healthcare.gov website to sign up. And that is exactly what the administration was looking to have happen.

Nationally, young adults account for slightly less than one-fourth of the Americans who signed up for health plans during the initial three months of federal and state insurance marketplaces — fewer than the government has said will be needed to make the economics of the new exchanges work – which is why the President took to the comic webwaves.

Under the ACA, everyone must have health insurance this year or pay a penalty. The penalty is at least $95 but potentially much more, depending on income.

Those who fail to sign up by March 31 will have to wait until November for another chance to buy health insurance through the marketplaces.

But here in New Hampshire not everyone is waiting. As Todd Bookman reported for NHPR a few days ago, more than 21,000 New Hampshire residents have signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act, according to new data released by the federal government.

Here are the New Hampshire numbers:

  • In February, 4,715 enrolled in coverage, bringing the total since October above the federal government’s estimate of 19,000 total sign-ups for the state.
  • Women account for 55% of enrollees,
  • Nearly 3-in-4 residents qualified for some level of financial assistance.

Nationally, the numbers look like this:

  • More than 4.2 million (4,242,300) people selected Marketplace plans from Oct. 1, 2013, through Mar. 1, 2014, including 1.6 million in the State Based Marketplaces and 2.6 million in the Federally-facilitated Marketplace. About 943,000 people enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace plans in the February reporting period, which concluded March 1, 2014.
  • Of the more than 4.2 million:
    • 55 percent are female and 45 percent are male;
    • 31 percent are age 34 and under;
    • 25 percent are between the ages of 18 and 34;
    • 63 percent selected a Silver plan (up one percentage point over the prior reporting period), while 18 percent selected a Bronze plan (down one point); and
    • 83 percent selected a plan and are eligible to receive Financial Assistance (up one point).

If you live in New Hampshire and don’t have insurance, aren’t happy with your current coverage, or are looking for a more affordable plan, the new Health Insurance Marketplace provides you with new options to find health coverage that fits your budget. You can search and compare plans online, and quickly see if there’s a plan that works for you, by visiting the Covering New Hampshire website.

Whether you need health coverage or already have it, the new health care law offers new rights and protections that make coverage fairer and easier to understand. If you already have an individual insurance plan and want to change it, you can use the Marketplace to explore your options and enroll in a new plan. But even if you don’t want to change plans, the health care law protects you by:

  • Requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Holding insurance companies accountable for rate increases.
  • Preventing insurance companies from canceling your coverage just because you get sick.
  • Ends lifetime and yearly dollar limits on coverage of essential health benefits, including emergency rooms visits, prescription drugs, preventive care, and many others.

If you or someone you know needs health insurance, please check it out today, so you won’t miss the March 31st deadline.

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About MaryLou Beaver

New Hampshire Campaign Director Every Child Matters Education Fund
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