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New Hampshire analysts see health enrollment gaps

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Consumers and small businesses in southern New Hampshire may need more help with enrolling in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange plans than the current exchange helper team can provide.

Suz Friedrich of the John Snow Institute, who presented her research Wednesday, looked at the public exchange plan enrollment in-person assistance gaps in research commissioned by the HNH Foundation.

The New Hampshire Health Plan has been running the state’s high-risk insurance pool and is supposed to shut down at the end of the year. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded it a $5 million grant to help with PPACA program education and marketing in New Hampshire. The plan has been working with the HNH Foundation to analyze the state’s uninsured population.

Friedrich said the exchanges need to focus on making more in-person assistance available in Cheshire, Hillsborough and Strafford counties, and on reaching young adults and people who are eligible for Medicaid.

She estimated that New Hampshire has a total of about 150,000 uninsured residents.

New Hampshire has been getting exchange services from HHS, but it has a Democratic governor, and it has been trying to help HHS manage the exchange health plans and reach out to consumers.

Friedrich noted in a printed version of her presentations posted online that brokers can play a role in reaching small businesses.

Friedrich did not mention insurance agents or brokers in her analysis of efforts to reach uninsured individuals.

Allison Bell contributed information to this report.

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