Covering NH & NH Health Care Coalition Letter to Governor Sununu & State Legislative Leaders on Coronavirus ACA Open Enrollment, March 2020
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Dear Governor Chris Sununu, State Senate President Donna Soucy, and State House Speaker Steve Shurtleff:
On behalf of Covering New Hampshire, a project of Granite State Progress Education Fund and the NH Health Care Coalition, we urgently ask you to join members of our federal delegation in requesting that President Donald Trump and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) establish a special open enrollment period for federally-facilitated health insurance Marketplaces to increase Granite Stater access to comprehensive health care during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis.
At this time, New Hampshire residents are only eligible to enroll in health insurance outside of the regularly scheduled Affordable Care Act open enrollment period if they have certain life events, like getting married, having a baby, or losing other health coverage. The next open enrollment period is not scheduled until late in the year.
Early detection and access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services is critical for our state and others to mitigate the potential for further outbreak. Nearly 77,000 New Hampshire residents, or 6% of the state’s population, do not have health insurance. A special open enrollment period will allow more people to obtain health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act so we are all better protected against the threat of coronavirus COVID-19.
This step will further complement the decision of the NH Insurance Department to require insurance companies to provide testing for COVID-19 without cost-sharing. Based on our experience with ACA open enrollment public education and outreach, we recommend requesting at least 60 days for the special open enrollment period to ensure adequate time to inform Granite Staters about the option and give them time to compare plans and enroll.
Thank you in advance for your efforts to do everything we can to increase access to quality, affordable health care amid this public health crisis.
Zandra Rice Hawkins
Exec. Director, Granite State Progress
Program Manager, Covering NH
State Director, Protect Our Care NH
Consultant, Covering NH
Lisa D. Beaudoin
Executive Director, ABLE NH
Co-Convener, Healthcare Working Group
Kent Street Coalition
State Director, NH MomsForce