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New Hampshire In Urgent Need Of National Paid Family Leave Program

 A National Paid Family and Medical Leave Plan Could Reduce by 83 Percent* the Number of New Hampshire Families Facing Economic Insecurity When They Need Time to Care

An analysis of demographic data in New Hampshire released today reveals the significant and growing need for a national paid family and medical leave plan that covers all working people in the state for the full range of serious caregiving and medical reasons. The release kicks off a series of nationwide activities marking next Monday’s 25th anniversary of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides unpaid leave. Across the country, working people, businesses, lawmakers, advocates and others will come together on the ground and online to celebrate the law’s progress, recognize state and private sector innovations and call for a national paid family and medical leave policy that advances the movement for more equitable and family friendly workplaces.

The new analysis was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families. The full set of findings for New Hampshire is available here. Similar findings for all 50 states and the District of Columbia can be found at NationalPartnership.org/PaidLeaveMeansMap.

“Twenty-five years after the FMLA was signed into law, it is past time to take the next step by ensuring paid leave for all working people,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership, which drafted and led the fight for the FMLA. “The FMLA has transformed our workplaces and culture in tremendously positive ways, but these data show that unpaid leave is inaccessible for too many people. Working people and families are caught between the demands of their jobs and their families, and as a result, our economy and businesses are not reaching their full potential.”

The New Hampshire analysis sheds light on why the failure of policymakers and the private sector to guarantee paid family and medical leave is causing people in the state to experience conflicts between their jobs and their families. For example, women, and especially women of color, are key breadwinners for their families while also continuing to be primary caregivers. People already have significant family and medical care needs that are increasing as the workforce ages. And the consequences for the economic well-being of families and the state can be serious when people are not able to hold paying jobs while providing and receiving critical care. Specifically:

  • In 75 percent of New Hampshire households with children – more than 180,000 homes – all parents hold jobs;
  • In less than 15 years, the share of New Hampshire’s population age 65 and older will grow by nearly 45 percent;
  • One person dies every day from a drug overdose in New Hampshire;
  • In New Hampshire, there is a 10-percentage point gap in labor force participation between men and women; and
  • A national paid leave plan would reduce the number of working families in New Hampshire facing significant economic insecurity when they need to take family and medical leave by 83 percent.

Nationally, the FMLA guarantees unpaid leave, but it is inaccessible to 58 percent of workers in New Hampshire because they either are not covered by the law or cannot afford to take the unpaid leave it provides. Just 15 percent of workers in the United States have paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 40 percent have paid medical leave through employer-provided temporary disability insurance. California, New Jersey, Rhode Island and, as of Jan. 1, New York, have paid family leave insurance programs in place. Washington state and the District of Columbia have enacted similar measures that have not yet taken effect. Research shows that existing programs are working well and lawmakers in other states continue to use them as models as they consider programs of their own.

“The recent progress on a bipartisan proposal to establish a statewide family and medical leave insurance program shows that lawmakers are listening to the majority of New Hampshire residents who know that better workplace policies will help families, businesses and our economy,” said Amanda Sears, director of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy in New Hampshire. “The future of our state depends on New Hampshire being an attractive place to live, work and raise a family – access to paid leave is a critical resource for both employees and businesses that will help drive our economy forward.”

“We now have a powerful body of evidence that shows the widespread benefits of paid family and medical leave, the urgent need for it, and the key components of a meaningful policy that would promote gender and economic equality, strengthen businesses and our economy, and promote the culture change we need,” explained Vicki Shabo, vice president for workplace policies and strategies at the National Partnership. “Lawmakers who advance strong paid leave proposals demonstrate that they understand their constituents’ needs and the value we all place on knowing we can care for our loved ones without risking our jobs. Voters’ support for a strong national paid family and medical leave law cuts across parties and ideologies, and large and small companies say they support a national paid leave plan too. It is past time for all lawmakers to show the same interest in real policy solutions.”

New Hampshire lawmakers are currently considering a paid family and medical leave proposal for the state. Federally, the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, sponsored by Sen. Gillibrand (D – N.Y.) and Rep. DeLauro (D – Conn.), is the leading paid family and medical leave proposal in Congress. Reps. Kuster and Shea-Porter are co-sponsors of the legislation. The FAMILY Act would create a national insurance program, similar to those in the states, that would be funded through small employer and employee contributions of 0.2 percent each (less than $1.50 per week each for a typical worker). It would allow workers to take up to 12 weeks of leave for serious family or medical reasons while receiving a portion of their pay.

The National Partnership’s reports for all 50 states and the District of Columbia are available here. They were released in advance of the 25th anniversary of the signing of the FMLA, which is Feb. 5. To celebrate the day and advance the movement for paid leave, a broad and diverse coalition of organizations is joining with businesses, state and local lawmakers, and working people across the country to call for a national paid family and medical leave law like the FAMILY Act. Supporters will be sending messages to Congress, hosting events, sharing stories with the media and their networks, and using #FMLA25 and #PaidLeaveMeans on social media.

For more information on paid family and medical leave, including details on existing laws, a summary of recent employer policy announcements, a collection of fact sheets and the latest research on the impact of paid leave policies, visit NationalPartnership.org/PaidLeave.

 

*Figure calculated using new data released by Brandeis University’s diversitydatakids.org.

ACA Marketplace Numbers Are Up, Advocates Make Final Push To Get Covered

Latest ACA Marketplace Numbers Show New Hampshire on Track – But Without 6 More Weeks to Enroll, Health Care Advocates Pushing Hard to December 15th Deadline 

Thousands sign up for new coverage, but with shortened open enrollment period and minimal publicity, local health care consumer and advocacy groups hustle to fill the gaps in New Hampshire before December 15th ACA Marketplace deadline 

Concord, NH – New Hampshire health care consumer and advocacy groups are making a final push to bolster Affordable Care Act Marketplace enrollment before the upcoming deadline on Friday. And in a protracted enrollment period, they are finding success: According to the latest enrollment report from CMS, 25,242 Granite Staters had enrolled in a new plan by December 9th. During the same time period in the last enrollment period, 21,154 Granite Staters had selected a plan by December 10th.

Other key facts from the latest enrollment numbers:

  • 3,728 more people enrolled in New Hampshire than this time last year – or 17% more
  • 662,652 more people enrolled across the nation than this time last year – or 17% more
  • Another 31,510 Granite Staters enrolled or auto-enrolled in coverage during this week and the additional 6 weeks of open enrollment last year – or 59.4% of total enrollment

Health care consumer and advocacy groups note that the enrollment numbers to date are promising, but with this year’s open enrollment period cut in half and advertising for it slashed by 90 percent, many Granite State individuals and families could be left out in the cold unless they enroll by the December 15th deadline. Advocates remain focused on a public education and outreach campaign that over the last 5 weeks has sought to ensure Granite Staters know how, when, where, and why to enroll in health insurance before the December 15th deadline.

“We are committed to making sure Granite Staters have important information about the open enrollment period and the resources available to them to find and afford critical health care coverage,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress Education Fund and project manager for Covering New Hampshire. 

The ACA public education and outreach campaign to date has included direct mail, paid digital ads, social media, video shorts, neighborhood literature drops, and a massive grassroots campaign to put important information about the ACA open enrollment period in front of New Hampshire individuals and families. In addition to the paid efforts, volunteers adopted more than 165 towns to distribute posters and flyers and mailed packets to local libraries, food banks, after-school programs, and community groups. Nearly 88% of New Hampshire residents live in a community covered by the outreach.

The effort is run by Covering New Hampshire in conjunction with Granite State Progress Education Fund and the NH Health Care Coalition, and made possible with grants from the HNH Foundation and NH Charitable Foundation.

“We are incredibly pleased with our progress to date, but with the open enrollment period cut in half we are in a full-out sprint to the December 15th deadline to encourage individuals and families to enroll in health care coverage,” Rice Hawkins said. “Free help is available, and just a click or call away. It is important for people to know that those who choose to go without health insurance may have to pay a penalty.”

Louise Spencer, co-founder of the Kent Street Coalition and one of the volunteer leads on the Covering New Hampshire campaign, added: “It is important that you sign up by December 15th, regardless of whether this is your first time getting covered or if you are returning to shop and save. Coverage could be cheaper than you think. Last year, 8 in 10 people qualified for financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable and most people found plans available between $50 to $100 per month. Even if you had coverage through HealthCare.gov in the past, plans change so you should still update your information and double-check your network coverage for doctors and prescriptions, or see if you qualify for more cost-savings.”

 

To learn more about local resources, including in-person help to sign up and upcoming enrollment fairs, Granite Staters can visit https://coveringnewhampshire.org/. Consumers ready to apply for coverage can also go directly to 1-800-318-2596 or www.healthcare.gov.

 

Get Covered: NH Insurance Department Reminds NH Residents Open Enrollment Ends December 15

CONCORD, NH – Open enrollment for individual health insurance (on and off HealthCare.gov) ends this Friday, December 15 at 11:59 P.M. The first premium needs to be paid by the insurance company’s due date before the 2018 coverage will take effect. Coverage will begin on January 1, 2018.

“Governor Sununu and the Insurance Department want to make sure that people are aware their last chance to sign up for a 2018 plan is this Friday,” said Insurance Commissioner Roger Sevigny. “If you still have questions about what plan is best for you, reach out to an insurance agent or broker or a Navigator for help understanding your options.”

New Hampshire residents should be aware that there are only three companies selling qualified health plans: Anthem, Ambetter, and Harvard Pilgrim. If a consumer purchased coverage from a different company, the plan may not offer them full coverage of services. Individuals who have questions about the plans they purchased may contact the NH Insurance Department’s Consumer Services unit for assistance by calling 1-800-852-3416 or (603) 271-2261, or by email at consumerservices@ins.nh.gov.

If a consumer needs assistance selecting a plan during the open enrollment period, the Insurance Department recommends that they contact an insurance agent or broker or a Federal Navigator. Residents can receive assistance from these types of in-person assisters at no additional cost during the open enrollment period. The Insurance Department’s website features a federally-created list of agents and brokers who are certified to sell plans on HealthCare.gov, although many also sell plans outside of HealthCare.gov. Consumers may also visit the Find Local Help tool on HealthCare.gov to find a local agent or broker by zip code.

Even if a consumer likes their 2017 plan, they should still update their application on HealthCare.gov and shop and compare options for 2018. The only way to receive an accurate financial assistance amount for 2018 is to update and submit an application on the website. If consumers who purchase coverage through HealthCare.gov do not take any action they will be automatically enrolled into a plan by HealthCare.gov that is considered “similar” to their current plan; but that plan may not have a similar premium, and their doctors and prescription drugs may not be in network. That plan will not be effective unless the consumer pays the first premium.

Outside of the open enrollment period, the only way residents can enroll in an individual insurance plan is if they qualify for a special enrollment period, typically the 60 days following certain qualifying life events.

Minuteman Health members have a special enrollment period until March 1, 2018, but need to enroll by December 31st to avoid a gap in coverage. For more information visit here.

The NH Insurance Department Can Help:

More information for New Hampshire residents about open enrollment may be found on the Insurance Department’s website. If you have questions about or issues with using the Marketplace and obtaining coverage, please call the federal government at (800) 318-2596. Once you have coverage, please contact the Insurance Department with questions or concerns at 1-800-852-3416 or (603) 271-2261, or by email at consumerservices@ins.nh.gov.
About The New Hampshire Insurance Department

The New Hampshire Insurance Department’s mission is to promote and protect the public good by ensuring the existence of a safe and competitive insurance marketplace through the development and enforcement of the insurance laws of the State of New Hampshire. For more information, visit http://www.nh.gov/insurance.

Senator Hassan Names “Might Max” As Her Granite Stater Of The Month

Senator Hassan Delivers Senate Floor Speech Announcing Max Mendez of Merrimack as Granite Stater of the Month for December

New Hampshire Eight-Year-Old Battling Leukemia Started “Mighty Max’s Mega Toy Drive”

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan spoke today on the Senate floor, where she announced that Max Mendez, an eight-year-old boy from Merrimack who started “Mighty Max’s Mega Toy Drive” while battling leukemia, is her “Granite Stater of the Month” for December.

After Max received toys from Boston Children’s Hospital as a reward for his courage during treatment, he started the “Mighty Max Mega Toy Drive” with help from family and friends to help resupply the Jimmy Fund Clinic, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Boston Children’s Hospital’s hematology and oncology unit with presents for brave young patients like himself. For more information on the toy drive, visit: facebook.com/mightymaxtoydrive/

Click here for video or see below for Senator Hassan’s remarks:

Mr. President, it is my honor to announce our latest Granite Stater of the Month, an inspiring, resilient, and generous young man from Merrimack, New Hampshire. Max Mendez, an 8-year-old boy, also known as “Mighty Max” and “Professor Max,” has battled leukemia for over a year, and he has proven to be a shining example of the values that make the Granite State – and all of our communities – strong.

As Max began treatment last year – procedures, blood draws, and tests at Boston Children’s Hospital – he was often recognized for his courage and grit. The hospital had a supply of toys and after these procedures he would often be rewarded with one them. Max received so many toys that he started to donate some of them to other kids, and realized that giving toys felt even better than receiving them. In the face of his own severe health challenges, Max started “Mighty Max’s Mega Toy Drive” to help supply the Jimmy Fund Clinic, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Boston Children’s Hospital’s hematology and oncology unit with presents for brave young patients like himself.

In true Granite State fashion, Max and his family received invaluable support from their community, including friends, local businesses, schools, sports teams, and the local police department. Max’s community donated toys, offered space as collection sites, and delivered donations to Max and the Mendez family. With extra help from his sister, Mckayla, and the Lyna family who helped advertise the toy drive and store donations, Mighty Max’s Mega Toy Drive received roughly 3,000 toys ahead of the holiday season this year.

Mighty Max, the Mendez family, and all of the Granite Staters who supported the toy drive demonstrate the spirit that makes New Hampshire such a strong, resilient state. While battling leukemia and enduring painful treatments, Max found it in himself to bring joy to others who face similar challenges, and his entire community – including people Max will never meet – is stronger because of his generous spirit and hard work. Max is an inspiration for all of us during this holiday season and beyond, and I am proud to call him our Granite Stater of the Month.

Senators Shaheen, Hassan Call On Trump Administration to Reinstate Birth Control Coverage for Millions of Women

In letter, Senators urge Trump Administration to rescind President Trump’s action allowing employers to roll back health care coverage for women

WASHINGTON – This week, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined 36 of their colleagues in calling on Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan to rescind President Trump’s interim final rules (IFRs) issued on October 13, 2017, enabling employers and universities to interfere with their employees’ and students’ access to preventive health care by allowing them to choose not to cover birth control for religious or moral reasons.

In the letter, the senators highlighted the enormous economic benefit of requiring health plans to cover preventive services, including birth control for women, without out-of-pocket costs.

“This requirement has helped 62.4 million women have coverage for birth control. As a result, they have been able to make decisions about their reproductive health care that strengthen their economic standing and allow them to decide if and when to start families,” wrote the senators. “These IFRs also allow employers and insurance companies to once again discriminate against women by requiring them to pay more for the health care they need compared to their male counterparts.”

The senators also noted that repealing the contraceptive coverage provision goes against the original intentions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which created explicit provisions to guarantee women access to preventive services.

“Congress specifically included the Women’s Health Amendment in the ACA to ensure that the legislation would end the “punitive practices of insurances companies that charge women more and give [them] less in a benefit” by guaranteeing women access to preventive services,” the senators wrote. “The IFRs fail to recognize this clear congressional intent to place medical experts’ recommendations over political ideology.”

See full text of the letter below or click HERE:

20171205_BirthControlIFR

Republicans Ram Through Their Tax Scam

Senators were given two hours to read the 400+ page bill before being asked to vote on it.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last three days by now you have already heard that Republicans in the Senate rammed through their wildly unpopular tax proposal that will raise taxes on the middle class and strip healthcare from 13 million people. The bill would also raise our national deficit by over $1 trillion dollars over the next ten years.

“This partisan tax bill is a giveaway to corporate special interests, not something that will help the middle class,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “I am extremely disappointed that my Republican colleagues passed a bill that non-partisan experts have shown will raise taxes on millions of hard-working families, increase health care premiums by 10 percent annually, and add $1.5 trillion to the national debt – all to give tax cuts to corporate special interests and the wealthiest few. There is strong bipartisan support for real tax reform that would benefit hard-working people and small businesses, but this is not that bill.”

“We need bipartisan tax reform to simplify our tax code, bolster the middle class, support small businesses and create jobs. But the partisan bill forced through the Senate and passed on a party-line vote failed to address any of these critical needs,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “This legislation asks middle-class families to foot the bill for massive tax breaks for the wealthy and large corporations, and will have serious ramifications for Granite Staters who rely on important tax benefits that are eliminated under this bill. I am tremendously disappointed by the secretive manner in which Senate Republicans crafted this legislation, and I’m concerned about how the middle class, seniors, homeowners, teachers and so many others will suffer as a result of this legislation. As the tax overhaul process moves forward, I’ll continue to push for bipartisanship and to protect essential New Hampshire priorities, including the state and local tax deduction and the student loan interest deduction.”

The Republican tax bill will add nearly $1.5 trillion to the national debt and make most families who earn less than $75,000 a year pay more in taxes by 2027. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, by 2019, Americans earning less than $30,000 a year will be worse off. The bill would lead to $25 billion in cuts from Medicare, harming seniors, and repeals part of the Affordable Care Act, which will raise healthcare costs and leave more Americans uninsured. Additionally, the Republican tax plan could prevent homeowners in New Hampshire from deducting state and local taxes and increase the tax burden on work-study students at colleges and universities.

“At a moment when 10,000 Americans are turning 65 every day, members of the Senate have stolen the retirement health benefits that Americans have earned over a lifetime to provide an unneeded windfall to the top 1%. They seem determined to create a retirement crisis that will take decades to reverse,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

“The GOP tax bill that passed the Senate by one vote is nothing but an attack on America’s workers,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “We will pay more, corporations and billionaires will pay less. It’s a job killer. It gives billions of tax giveaways to big corporations that outsource jobs and profits.”

“President Trump said that he wanted to lower taxes for everyone as a Christmas gift to America, but this bill is simply a lump of coal to working families across the country. The only real gift is the major tax giveaways to Wall Street, big corporations and the super-rich, when what our country needs is investment in our schools and infrastructures that creates jobs,” Trumka added.

“In voting to give a tax break for millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations, Senate Republicans have made an enemy for themselves in their own constituents,” said Tax March Executive Director Nicole Gill. “As a result of this monstrous bill, 87 million middle-class families would pay more in taxes so that Republicans can reward their rich donors with even more unearned tax breaks. Not only would working families see their own taxes go up, this bill threatens massive cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and critical funding for programs that hardworking Americans rely on. Senators who voted for this scheme should be ashamed and will not avoid the repercussions from voters – we won’t forget.”

“The bill passed today is nothing more than a giveaway to the richest households and corporations, period,” said Josh Bivens, of the Economic Policy Institute. “It will raise taxes on many low- and moderate-income households, and the deficits it will leave in its wake will be used to attack Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—a strategy clearly telegraphed by both the Republican budget resolution from last month as well as by Senator Rubio more recently. Besides lying about who would benefit most directly from the tax cut, defenders of today’s bill have also lied about the trickle-down benefits that will accrue to workers in the form of higher wages. Simply put, this bill will not raise wages for typical workers—but it will deny health insurance to 13 million workers, a measure Senate Republicans included to help contain the overall cost of giving large tax cuts to rich households and corporations. This bill is a scam through-and-through.”

For years Republicans in the Senate have used the “Debt and Deficit” as a way to justify their votes against a variety of bills. They even shut down the government for almost two weeks because they refused to raise the debt ceiling. Yet, all of those issues seemed to disappear as they voted to increase the national debt by over $1 trillion dollars.

The Concord Coalition is a right-leaning government watchdog group that is focused on reducing the national debt and opposes these cuts.

The Concord Coalition said today that the tax legislation considered by the Senate is based on flawed economics, reckless fiscal policy and blatant budget gimmickry. It would worsen the nation’s fiscal outlook and introduce new complexities in the tax code at a time when policymakers should be aiming to lower deficits and make the tax code more efficient.

“This is the wrong bill at the wrong time,” said Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director. “Like its counterpart in the House, the Senate’s tax bill is based on the flawed premise that another trillion dollars or more of new debt is needed to spur higher economic growth.”

He added: “The economy does not need short-term stimulus from a major tax cut at this time. And over the long term, adding more debt to the already unsustainable path of current fiscal policies would act as a restraint on future growth. Revenue-neutral tax reform would not have this problem.”

Because the Senate version and the House version are different, a committee of conference will be created to iron out the details before it must come back for an “up and down” vote.

NH Insurance Department Issues Guidance to Consumers on Finding Help with Insurance Enrollment

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Insurance Department encourages consumers who need to select a health insurance plan during the open enrollment period to seek the help of an insurance agent or broker or a Federal Navigator, if needed. Residents can receive assistance from these types of in-person assisters at no additional cost during the open enrollment period. Open enrollment began November 1 and ends December 15, 2017.

Insurance agents and brokers can assist consumers with enrolling in a health insurance plan through HealthCare.gov, through an agent or broker, or directly from an insurer. Agents and brokers can recommend specific plans to their clients based on their health care needs and budget, and appointments are free during open enrollment. The Insurance Department encourages consumers who do not receive premium assistance on HealthCare.gov to seek help from an agent or broker to identify all plan options. The Insurance Department website features a federally-created list of agents and brokers who are certified to sell plans on HealthCare.gov, although many also sell plans outside of HealthCare.gov. Consumers may also visit the Find Local Help tool on HealthCare.gov to find a local agent or broker.

Navigators are funded and trained by the federal government to provide free help to consumers, small businesses, and their employees as they look for health coverage options through the Marketplace, including completing eligibility and enrollment forms. They are required to be unbiased, meaning they cannot recommend a specific plan. Certified Application Counselors are certified by the federal government and are based at nonprofit organizations and hospitals. NH residents can find a Navigator using the Find Local Help tool on HealthCare.gov.

Even if consumers like their 2017 plan, they should still shop and compare options for 2018, and they can do this with in-person help. The options available are changing for 2018, meaning some 2017 plans may not be available. All Minuteman Health plans will terminate on December 31, 2017. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care will not offer its New Hampshire Network plans on HealthCare.gov for 2018, but it will offer its ElevateHealth Network. If NH residents have the Harvard Pilgrim New Hampshire Network, they will need to review their provider needs and select a plan accordingly. Network and prescription drug formulary information for 2018 plans sold on HealthCare.gov can be found here.

Plans may also change their in-network providers and prescription drug coverage from year to year. If consumers don’t take any action, HealthCare.gov will automatically enroll them in a plan that is considered “similar” to their current plan; but that plan may not have a similar premium, and their doctors and prescription drugs may not be in network.

NH residents with 2017 coverage received a renewal letter from their insurance company – but the letter’s estimate of what they may pay in monthly premium might be not accurate if they receive a subsidy. This is because precise subsidy information was not available at the time the letters were prepared. If a consumer qualifies for subsidies on HealthCare.gov, the Insurance Department encourages those individuals to use the plan preview tool to get an estimate of their subsidy and premium amounts for 2018.

The NH Insurance Department Can Help:

More information for New Hampshire residents about open enrollment may be found on the Insurance Department’s website. If you have questions about or issues with using the Marketplace and obtaining coverage, please call the federal government at (800) 318-2596. Once you have coverage, please contact the Insurance Department with questions or concerns at 1-800-852-3416 or (603) 271-2261, or by email at consumerservices@ins.nh.gov.

Former President Barack Obama Releases Video Encouraging Enrollment at HealthCare.Gov

“8 in 10 People Can Find Plans for $75 a Month or Less…cheaper than a lot of cell phone plans”

Former President Obama has a message, Get Covered. Earlier this morning, the former President released a video encouraging Americans to enroll at HealthCare.gov which opened for business today.

According to a new Health and Human Services report, people can find even more affordable plans this year than in years past.

This year many Americans can find a plan for under $75 each month because of the financial assistance that is available that lowers someone’s monthly premiums. That’s right, People will pay less for coverage this year than ever before. (HHS report page 37)
5 Vital Facts About Signing Up For Coverage at HealthCare.gov:

#1: Sign up by December 15. Open Enrollment starts on November 1 but you must take action by December 15, no matter if this is your first time getting covered or if you are returning to shop and save. Beat the rush and sign up early.

#2: Coverage could be cheaper than you think. Last year, 8 in 10 people qualified for financial help to make their monthly premiums more affordable. In fact, most people found plans available between $50 to $100 per month.

#3: Shop and save. If you had coverage through HealthCare.gov for 2017, you should come back to update your information and compare your options for 2018. Every year, plans and prices change, you could save money by switching to a new plan that still meets your needs.

#4: Those who choose to go without health insurance may have to pay a penalty. There is a minimum penalty of $695 for not having health insurance.

#5: Free help is available. If you have questions about signing up or want to talk through your options with a trained professional, free help is just a call or quick away. Call 1-800-318-2596, visitlocalhelp.healthcare.gov or make a one-on-one appointment now.

Get America Covered is a nationwide campaign focused on cutting through the confusion to make sure people get the information they need to get covered and stay covered. Get America Covered will help people looking to enroll in health coverage, as well as those who are helping other people sign-up; paying special attention to those states that rely on HealthCare.gov to sign people up for coverage.

Shaheen and Hassan Hold Press Conference to Raise Awareness of Health Insurance Open Enrollment Period

(Manchester, NH) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) held a press conference at Manchester Community Health Center to highlight the health insurance open enrollment period, which runs from November 1st through December 15th. While legislative efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have repeatedly failed, the Trump administration has accelerated attempts to sabotage the ACA, which includes ending cost-sharing reduction payments that help low and middle-income families afford insurance, repealing the birth control mandate, cutting the open enrollment period in half and shutting down the sign-up website for 12 hours nearly every Sunday of the enrollment period.

“The Trump administration has been actively sabotaging the Affordable Care Act and disrupting healthcare marketplaces. Because of the administration’s attempts to undermine the law, it’s up to each of us to get the word out to family members and friends that the enrollment period begins on November 1st – in just 2 days,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’ll continue to support bipartisan measures to restore funding for enrollment ads and outreach, lower premiums, and strengthen key elements of the law. In the meantime, every Granite Stater can also play a role by helping us spread the word to our friends and neighbors that quality health coverage under the ACA is available to all who need it.”

“It is essential that Granite Staters know their options to take advantage of the open enrollment period from November 1 through December 15 and get the health and economic security that quality, affordable health insurance offers,” Senator Hassan said. “While the Trump Administration is slashing funding for advertising and in-person assistance, I will continue working to make sure that Granite Staters have the information they need to help find the plan that’s best for them. I will also keep working with Senator Shaheen and my colleagues from both parties to pass bipartisan legislation to help stabilize the markets and lower health care costs for hard-working Americans.”

Senators Shaheen and Hassan have consistently advocated for immediate action to stabilize state marketplaces and lower premiums for Granite Staters and Americans across the country. Senator Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to provide marketplace stability by permanently continuing and increasing eligibility for cost-sharing reduction payments. Her bill, the Marketplace Certainty Act, which Senator Hassan cosponsored, would make cost-sharing reduction payments permanent and expand eligibility to more working Americans. Senators Shaheen and Hassan also helped introduce the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act to create a permanent reinsurance program for the individual health insurance market, similar to the successful programs used to lower premiums and spur competition in the Medicare Part D program. And earlier this month, Shaheen and Hassan joined a bipartisan group of 24 senators in support of the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017, which would lower premiums and improve quality of care for patients and families across the nation.

The Senate Budget Puts Health Care for Granite Staters at Risk to Give Huge Tax Cuts to the Wealthy

Resolution sets up blueprint for tax cuts that disproportionately benefit wealthy households while cutting health care and education for everyone else

MANCHESTER — The U.S. Senate voted late last evening to approve a Budget Resolution that sets a framework for cuts to federal health care and education as well as tax cuts that mainly benefit corporations and the wealthiest households. The Resolution includes a $1.5 trillion tax cut that will increase the deficit and may force cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education, and other services that families rely on.

We are thankful that in New Hampshire our Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan voted against the Resolution that could put Medicaid for 171, 500 Granite Staters and Medicare for 266,210 people with disabilities and seniors at risk.

The Senate budget includes $5.8 trillion in cuts to federal spending, including nearly $500 billion from Medicare and $1.3 trillion from Medicaid and other health care programs. Another $650 billion may be cut from income security programs, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for individuals with disabilities, and tax credits for working families.

Time and time again, the Republicans in Congress have shown that their priority is taking care of the rich and big business, not the vast majority of Americans. They started with trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would have taken health coverage and Medicaid from millions. Failing in that effort, thanks to the resistance mobilized by thousands of American, they have now turned to a budget plan that would make even more cuts to health care and other programs—all to give tax breaks to the people who need them least.

We’re so grateful that we can depend on Senators Shaheen and Hassan to stand up against cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs that families depend on. We will continue to need the Senators’ leadership as the GOP and President Trump move forward on implementing their plan for massive tax breaks for the rich and corporations paid for by cuts to our health care and education.

The Senate budget resolution creates instructions to make these cuts and write legislation with tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest among us based on a framework laid out by President Trump earlier this year. Under the GOP plan, the richest 1% in New Hampshire would receive about 53.3% of the tax breaks.

These New Hampshire households are projected to have an income of at least $545,600 next year. The framework would provide them an average tax cut of $69,390 in 2018, which would increase their income by an average of 4.2 percent, while the poorest 20% of Granite Staters would see only 2.2% of the tax breaks under this proposal.

Rights & Democracy stands in opposition to the Trump-GOP tax plan that cuts health care, education, and other key social safety net programs to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and corporations whose pockets and company coffers are already overflowing.

“Now, more than ever, we must reject a budget passed on the backs of low income folks, working families and America’s shrinking middle class. We must join together to fight for the health care and other programs hundreds of thousands of people in New Hampshire depend on,” said Jessica Early, RAD’s Health Care Justice Organizer.

“We are asking our members to call on Governor Sununu at (603) 271-2121 today and ask him to stand with Granite Staters—not with millionaires and billionaires—and urge him to reject his party’s tax plan,” Early added.

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