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Outreach group estimates 93 percent of New Hampshire insured as new sign-up season nears


CONCORD, New Hampshire — An estimated 7 percent of New Hampshire's population remains uninsured as a new sign-up season nears, according to the consumer outreach organization Covering New Hampshire.

The third enrollment period under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law opens Nov. 1 for coverage taking effect in January. Based on federal and state enrollment information and survey data, Covering New Hampshire estimates that 93,106 residents still lack health insurance. That's down from the roughly 155,000 who were uninsured in October 2013, when the insurance marketplaces created by the law launched.

"We have reduced that number by more than 60,000 and gotten more comprehensive wellness plans into the marketplace," said Michael Degnan, director of the New Hampshire Health Plan, the agency that manages Covering New Hampshire. "That means peace of mind to thousands of New Hampshire families, and it has helped countless businesses to have a healthy, productive workforce."

Covering New Hampshire estimates that 53,000 individuals were enrolled in the marketplace by the end of the second enrollment period in February, and of those surveyed, 44 percent were previously uninsured. After the state expanded its Medicaid program, about 42,000 individuals enrolled either through the state's managed care program for Medicaid or through a program that subsidizes employer coverage. Covering New Hampshire estimates that 27,000 of that total were previously uninsured.

The expanded Medicaid program is projected to cost $340 million a year when fully implemented and would use 100 percent federal funding through 2017. Coverage will end if federal funding drops below 100 percent and ends regardless at the end of 2016 if the Legislature doesn't reauthorize it.

"While some may wish to continue debating the merits of these programs, it is difficult to deny the solid return on investment they offer our state," Degnan said.

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