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April 2, 2014

N.H. surpasses projected signups for Affordable Care Act coverage

The number of New Hampshire residents signing up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act surged in the weeks and days leading to Monday’s deadline.

A full tally isn’t available yet, but officials already know the state exceeded projections.

The federal government anticipated about 19,000 enrollees by the deadline and the number of those signing up was 21,578 by March 1.

“There was an uptick in the last seven days,” said Jennifer Frizzell, a senior policy advisor with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, which provided navigators to help people complete the process. “We saw a tremendous volume in the last six weeks, especially in the last six days.”

Operating a program two days a week in Derry, Planned Parenthood signed up at least 364 people during the six-month sign up period that began in October.

Frizzell said that doesn’t include hundreds of others contacted through outreach efforts via enrollment fairs and public libraries in Rockingham County.

“I think it was a great success,” Frizzell said.

She acknowledged New Hampshire experienced delays getting started last fall, but saw in the state’s numbers exceeding expectations the results of what she called an intense catchup.

There were various factors affecting increased signups in the final days.

“People respond to deadlines,” Frizzell said.

She speculated that people responded both because of the affordability of insurance and also a desire by the uninsured to comply with the law.

Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress, said people are finding peace of mind through the program.

“The numbers are still rolling in from the end of the enrollment period, but initial reports indicate that we are well on track to reach enrollment goals,” she said. “Opponents to the Affordable Care Act will continue to try to demonize and repeal it, but they ignore the incredible fact that millions of Americans, many for the first time, can now go to the doctor when they get sick without fear of extraordinary bills or medical bankruptcy.”

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