HNH Foundation Steps In To Fill Void In Obamacare Outreach

HNH Foundation made an emergency grant this week of nearly $100,000 in response to a gap created by a 90% cut in government funding for promoting ACA health insurance enrollment. Marketing has been key to increase consumer awareness of where and when to enroll. In addition, marketing efforts will remind consumers about the shortened deadline for enrollment; the 2017 enrollment period has been cut from 12 to six weeks.

More than 50,000 Granite Staters enrolled in health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace last year.

One of the HNH Foundation’s leading priorities is to increase access to children’s health and dental coverage. Access to health insurance is essential for children to get the health care they need, most importantly preventative care.

“The Affordable Care act has been hugely successful in increasing the number of New Hampshire residents with health insurance,” said HNH Board Chair Kathy Crompton.

“We were concerned that the cut in federal funds for promotion combined with the shorter enrollment period would put many people at risk of losing their insurance coverage and we needed to do something quickly to address that.”

Kathy Crompton, HNH Board Chair

 In an emergency session, the Foundation board voted to provide $96,000 to Granite State Progress Education Fund; they are working with the New Hampshire Health Care Coalition to support statewide and targeted outreach efforts. HNH Foundation funding will be used to support paid advertising, publicity, print material distribution, and outreach at public events to those previously enrolled in the ACA marketplace and currently uninsured.

The goal is to bolster and support outreach efforts currently underway and broaden the outreach campaign to regions of the state that are not covered by other efforts. 

The NH Health Care Coalition will generate more awareness of the open enrollment period from November 1 to December 15 and drive consumers to opportunities for direct assistance to get enrolled. The group is coordinating with organizations such as Bi-State Primary Care, which has federal funding for the state’s Federally Qualified Health Centers to help enroll eligible families.

“Our mission is to improve the health and wellness of our population, most importantly our most vulnerable children,” said HNH President Gail Garceau. “Children can’t sign up for their own health insurance. Parents have to know this opportunity is available and act on it for their children to have access to health care.  It’s critically important.“

“We are thankful to the HNH Foundation for their support of this critical work, and we’re hitting the ground running to increase public awareness of the open enrollment period,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress Education Fund.

Rice Hawkins added that access to health care coverage allows families to go to the doctor when they are sick, and detect or address health problems before they become something more serious. She has assembled an extensive network of statewide advocacy and grassroots organizations working together on outreach.

“It is important for families to sign up by December 15th to ensure they have this important health coverage. We encourage people who are interested in helping to spread the word about enrolling in a health care plan to contact our office and join the statewide outreach effort,” Rice Hawkins said.

The Affordable Care Act open enrollment period began November 1 and runs through December 15.