In the News
Providers remind ACA deadline to enroll is Tuesday
Washington, December 14, 2020
CONCORD — Political leaders and health care professionals urged families if they need health coverage to enroll in Affordable Care Act plans before an annual deadline hits Tuesday at midnight.
U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., said the substance abuse coverage and expansion of Medicaid allowed under the ACA have played a critical role in the number of opioid overdoses likely going down in New Hampshire for the third straight year.
“I encourage all Granite Staters who are not yet covered for 2021 and those who already get coverage through the ACA exchange to visit HealthCare.Gov as soon as possible to sign up for care or shop around and ensure that you and your family are enrolled in the plan that best suits your needs,” Kuster said.
Jake Berry, vice president of policy for New Futures, said overdose deaths as of Nov. 15 this year were 351 compared to 415 for all of 2019.
“There are certainly a number of factors contributing to this progress, including the hard work of our treatment and recovery providers, and the increased availability of Narcan, the overdose reversal drug,” Berry said.
“But, by far, the most impactful resource contributing to this positive trend is the health insurance provided through the Affordable Care Act.”
Jonathan Brown is head of critical care for Harbor Care Health and Wellness Center in Nashua, one of only three health care centers for the homeless in the state.
The ACA helped reduce the rate of the uninsured for the homeless from 79% a decade ago to 16% in 2019, Brown said.
“The integration of (substance abuse) treatment into mainstream health care is working, increasing parity, eliminating stigmas, and integrating both the recognition and treatment of this disease at all sectors of our health care system,” Brown said.
Dr. Seddon Savage of Dartmouth-Hitchcock said the ACA also assured parity for mental health to the coverage of physical ailments.
“We know the earlier we can intervene in emotional distress and substance misuse, the less suffering for these citizens and very importantly, the lower cost to our health care system,” Savage said.
Mary Drew, founder and CEO of Reality Check recovery center in Jaffrey, said she’s going through the system herself as the mother of two adult children who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and moved back home to live with her.
“We are driven to make sure the people we serve get access to the services that they need,” Drew said.
Just prior to this deadline, 19,000 had signed up to get coverage through ACA exchanges.
In 2020, there were 44,412 who had obtained coverage in this fashion but the numbers have been dropping from a high of 55,000 in 2016.
Meanwhile, the pandemic has led to a steep increase in the number of people who qualified for coverage because they lost their jobs and are now on Medicaid.
Berry said those on expanded Medicaid recently went over the 60,000 mark when the previous high in recent years was 55,000.