Published DateTo the editor,
In just a matter of months, New Hampshire will have a new "Health Benefit Marketplace" where Granite Staters can more easily shop for health insurance through a "one-stop shop" that facilitates apples-to-apples comparisons of insurance plans. Many will be able to buy insurance using premium tax credits.
Knowing how to use the new online Marketplace and understanding the insurance plans available will be critical, especially for "pre-Medicare" seniors who may have health issues, people seeking coverage for the first time and people with disabilities. Giving these people the information they need to be able to access the Marketplace and an understanding of what's newly available is critically important, not just for their understanding of how the Marketplace works, but also for their health.
Unfortunately, few people in New Hampshire know about the changes coming or have the information they need to make the best choice about what plan to buy and how to access financial assistance.
New Hampshire has been awarded a grant to fully fund an effort designed to provide crucial information to residents and their families to help them learn of and understand their new options for coverage and financial assistance. This will provide everyone in N.H. the information needed to make informed decisions. We will be able to make sure that those uninsured residents who have never had health coverage before and who may need extra help navigating the new system can get help from trained "assistors." This effort would be designed in New Hampshire for New Hampshire residents. In other words: local control of local information.
Currently, the N.H. Legislature is considering whether they should accept these funds into the state. Time is ticking. Please contact your legislators and let them know that without access to these grant funds, N.H. residents with the greatest need for assistance won't get it. And local service agencies, who are already doing more with less, will be left face to face with a lost and confused clientele, wondering why we don't have the resources to help them.
Let's provide the information everyone needs to use the Marketplace effectively. Let's give local agencies a chance to provide assistance to people where they live or work.
Please contact your legislators and ask for their support of these funds to provide vital services for our community. You can find out who your local legislator is through the NH General Court website at http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/.
Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health
Lisa Morris, Executive Director
Board of Directors:
Dr. Richard Wilson