THE HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE open enrollment is open to all New Hampshire residents from now until Dec. 15, 2020, and coverage becomes effective on Jan. 1, 2021.

The accomplishments of Obamacare in our state cannot be overstated. More than 45,000 New Hampshire residents now have comprehensive coverage. All told, we have almost cut the number of uninsured in our state in half in just three years — and we now have one of the lowest levels of uninsured citizens in the nation, according to The New York Times.

That means peace of mind to working families, and huge savings in terms of uncompensated care to our hospitals. And, in this uncertain time of crisis and pandemic, we have given our state the peace of mind of good health care. For that reason alone, it was good to hear the United States Supreme Court seem dismissive of the unfounded case against the law.

Obamacare has made health care more affordable and attainable to tens of thousands in our state by increasing the number of carriers in our market, and boosting the amount of options and plans.

But, New Hampshire faces other issues that impact our health care market. We have one of the fastest aging populations in the nation — and that is very expensive for our health care system.

It is no secret that our health care system in New Hampshire is expensive, with costs being well above the national average. While hospitals have begun to consolidate costs, merge, and benefit from a huge reduction in uncompensated care, it will take time to bring costs down.

Fortunately, efforts like the health care services price transparency website, NH HealthCost from the state Insurance Department, have helped to make us all better consumers. We can now be more aware of costs and results. And our website at CoveringNewHampshire.org helps Granite State residents and small businesses learn more about health coverage options under the federal Marketplace.

Today, we see residents who were previously uninsured, some with expensive chronic ailments that were left uncared for, who are now healthier because they can afford the medical treatments and medications they need. Expanding coverage to the uninsured lowers what many have referred to as the “hidden tax.” Businesses who offer insurance to their employees and those who buy individual insurance plans have paid higher premiums for years to cover the unpaid expenses of those who were uninsured and couldn’t afford the medical bills.

With the vast majority of New Hampshire residents covered by comprehensive plans today, people are getting better care, going to the doctor instead of the emergency room, and fewer people are struggling to pay mounting unpaid bills for vital medical services.

Jayme H. Simões is chair of Protect Our Care NH and lives in Concord.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

ONE WEEK before the Merrimack special election to replace deceased House Speaker Dick Hinch, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen co-authored an op-ed with Wendy Thomas, the Democratic nominee for the seat, in New Hampshire’s only statewide daily newspaper.

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