WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan hosted a virtual roundtable discussion yesterday with Granite Staters to discuss how the American Rescue Plan, which was signed into law last week, will help lower health care costs for many Granite Staters who purchase health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.
Discussing the American Rescue Plan, Senator Hassan stated, “This is landmark legislation, and it’s going to get more vaccines in arms, get our children back in schools, put people back to work, and help families and small businesses pay their bills. It also includes critically important provisions to lower health care costs.”
The American Rescue Plan will lower health insurance premiums for millions of Americans who buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and could reduce premiums for Granite Staters by potentially thousands of dollars each year.
Amy Franklin of Plainfield spoke about her experience receiving health insurance through the Affordable Care Act: “One thing that maybe doesn't get stated enough about the [Affordable Care Act] - and now also this sort of additional money to the subsidies - is how financially secure it makes people and how it allows them to kind of move forward in that part of their life without having to have that huge financial burden just holding them back.”
Jeremy Smith, Program Director of NH Navigator, spoke about the significant cost-saving measures included in the American Rescue Plan for patients who receive their health care through the Affordable Care Act.
“If anybody had ever asked me what can you do to help people on the marketplace, my answer would’ve been ‘Let’s increase the subsidies. More people need access to them. People need more of them to make this more affordable,’” Smith said. “And this is just going to be a game changer. I'm so happy to see it and it’s really going to make a difference in the consumers that we help to be able to qualify for more affordable and better health insurance.”
Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress, also discussed how the American Rescue Plan will help Granite Staters save on health care costs: "The American Rescue Plan means that more Granite State families will have the health and financial security they need to move past the COVID-19 public health pandemic. This plan eliminates or vastly reduces ACA marketplace premiums for many low and moderate income families, provides options for families with somewhat higher incomes who face high premiums, protects and extends coverage for those facing the loss of employer-based coverage or who are currently uninsured, and provides states with critical funds to ensure every American has access to quality, affordable health coverage. Coupled with the ACA special enrollment period between now and May 15th, Granite Staters can breathe easier when it comes to options to find and afford health coverage. The American Rescue Plan is an incredible tool to improve health and economic security in our country."
Dr. Lyn Lindpaintner of Concord, a retired physician, also discussed how the American Rescue Plan will help Granite Staters, particularly those who are lower income and may otherwise fall through the cracks, access the affordable, high-quality health insurance that they need.
Participants also discussed the importance of Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire, which then-Governor Hassan worked across the aisle in 2014 to secure and sign into law.
“New Hampshire did the right thing, you did the right thing Senator Hassan, when you were governor, in signing Medicaid expansion into law, and that has been an incredible stopgap for so many families this year,” said Rice Hawkins. “We have seen in New Hampshire our enrollment in both traditional and expanded Medicaid go up during the COVID-19 pandemic. And we know that that has been one of the ways that families have been able to access coverage that they really needed at a really critical time.”
In addition, Senator Hassan highlighted how the American Rescue Plan will support workers who are now unemployed or had their hours reduced as a result of the pandemic. Under the American Rescue Plan, Americans who get their health insurance through COBRA, which is a program that allows workers to stay on their employer sponsored health insurance plan if they lose their job, will get 100 percent of their premium costs covered through September.
“A lot of time that COBRA continuation is really important for continuity of care purposes, especially for people with complicated medical situations,” Senator Hassan said.
Granite Staters can sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplace at HealthCare.gov now through May 15 as a result of a Special Enrollment Period that Senator Hassan called for and the Biden administration announced earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. And beginning April 1, those enrolling in marketplace plans will be able to take advantage of the lower premiums enacted by the American Rescue Plan.