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N.H. Obamacare enrollment more than doubles expectations

More than twice the expected number of New Hampshire residents enrolled in health insurance plans offered for the first time through the federal program known as Obamacare, according to new data released by federal officials yesterday.

Almost half of those 40,262 people enrolled in the last 45 days of the open enrollment period.

“We live in a deadline-driven society. People wait until the last minute,” said Karen Hicks, project manager for Covering New Hampshire, the federally funded public relations campaign for the program in the state.

Federal officials said they still cannot tell how many of the people who enrolled have paid their insurance premiums.

Even two months ago, when more than 21,000 people had enrolled, no one in the Covering New Hampshire office expected to see enrollment go near 40,000, Hicks said. The closest estimate in the office pool? 33,000.

“I would have said it was unrealistic,” especially given the late start, as Republicans in the Legislature maneuvered to block the enrollment campaign’s $5 million in federal funding for several months, and the bumpy rollout, as the federal website barely worked until December, she said.

Hicks is a seasoned political campaign operator who worked as U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s political director when Shaheen was governor and for the New Hampshire presidential primary campaigns of Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton.

This campaign – with the March 31 deadline for people to sign up for coverage – was similar to the build-up before all of those election days she’s worked, Hicks said.

“We had a very clear goal, a very clear deadline . . . and we had a target audience. The better we could identify them, spend our resources talking to them rather than to someone who has insurance already or just wouldn’t be interested, the better it worked. We had a multilayered communication campaign that borrowed both from state-of-the-art marketing and from political campaigns,” Hicks said.

That campaign meant first using data gathered in previous research and polls to find the people most likely to be uninsured, getting them to tell Covering New Hampshire what would be an effective message, then adapting the media strategy to fit that message.

The group redesigned its website and print materials after a round of focus groups “were super clear with us that it was all about the money,” Hicks said.

“They said, ‘We know why we should get covered. It’s a question of money.’ So we cut to the chase a lot more than we did originally,” she said.

The campaign made a chart showing the level of subsidies and tax credits available for different income levels, and put it on just about every piece of material they distributed.

Though the outreach efforts were more successful than anticipated, they drew in about half of the New Hampshire residents eligible for plans on the marketplace, and only about 31 percent of enrollees are under the age of 35.

And as the efforts next year aim to encourage the remaining 40,000 eligible people to sign up, it’s only going to be harder – but even more crucial – to attract young, healthy people, said Charlie Arlinghaus, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy and a critic of the law.

Many young people, whose low consumption of health care makes them crucial to the financial success of the law, may rather pay the fine and take a risk than pay the premiums, he said.

“I think supporters are probably happy 40,000 people signed up. But basically, they got a lot of people to sign up who under the law had to sign up, and they got a large financial contract to do it.”

(Sarah Palermo can be reached at 369-3322 or or on Twitter @SPalermoNews.)

Legacy Comments41

Better Headline: People taking self responsibility subsidize others and freeloader joining the system more than doubles. Better Headline: Obamacare enrollment nearly doubles as people who were promised that they could keep their insurance and doctors are forced to sign up. Better Headline: $5 spent on campaign to sign up people on Obamacare could have paid ______ new insurance plan premiums. Better Headlines: 40,000 people forced to sign up for Obamacare, few have paid and will be able to pay premiums as makers open their wallets to takers.

As of now, Anthem, has said of the forty thousand enrollees in NH, thirty five thousand have paid premiums, that is 90%., and 80% were not insured before.

Yeah Tillie it is all about paranoia. The list of scandals with this administration keeps mounting. Latest ones are the Vet Affairs and the EPA. So get out your excuse machine because the scandal list keeps growing. You state that folks lied about the ACA. Seems to me your party has egg all over their face in regards to what was predicted about the ACA. Those claims are in fact happening. Now just sit back and wait for the employer mandate to kick in. That was put off till after the elections for a reason. Like Pelosi said, the law had to be passed so we could see what is in it. Now that passed law has to be delayed to we can fix it. Your tax dollars at work. Now as far as propaganda goes. When are you folks going to own up to the fact that every time this WH gets caught in lies or being incompetent, you guys make excuses. Lame ones, like racism, politics, etc. You do not focus on what is happening, you change the rhetoric to talking points.

Talking points? The latest talking point is barely off the Fox screen before it hits the "forum" here I am focusing on what is happening. A so called "investigation" by tea party zealots who have already made up their minds. It is a sham.

Thanks for proving my post Tillie. How many more screw ups need to happen before you realize that this administration is incompetent? You ignore all of them. Why? Are you so ingrained in your politics that you cannot see anything else? No doubt you will not answer any of these questions, ya never do.

Answer #1 When this admin gets one less screw up than Bush, I will admit it is incompetent. When it starts fake wars it can't finish, when it lets citizens of a city die because of cronyism, when the worst recession in sixty years happens on its' watch maybe then I will say it is incompetent. Answer #2 See answer # 1. You ask rhetorical questions which means they are questions asked for effect and not meant to be answered if case you don't know.

You did not answer. You cannot. Instead you evaluate Bush not Obama. I have never seen you have an honest discussion with anybody about Obama. Like I said, you are so ingrained with his policies, that you are incapable of evaluating him honestly. That explains why you name call. Hopefully you do not see all things in your life as so black and white. I believe that call that tunnel vision.

Rabbit, you only see black,. To be honest you ask really dumb questions that are really only to prove your own point.. Why are YOU so ingrained in your politics that you can not see anything else?. Do you not see that question can just as easily be asked of you or Itsa or any of your righties. When have you ever taken any point of view that was not a right wing Republican one? When?

So, Mr. Arlinghaus is saying that 40,000 would have signed up on the exchange even if there hadn't been a PR campaign, simply because they had to sign up under the law? Huh. Interesting hypothesis. My hypothesis is that grapes, under certain conditions, can be very sour indeed.

When the GOP's whole plan to win in 2014 was to simply be against Obambcare and have nothing else positive to offer, I think I am beginning to smell panic in the air.

No, they offer freedom, JOBS through being business friendly, less government and means testing for those who collect government checks and I fully support them. There is no panic in the air, your ideology is about to come around and bite you in the backside.

FOF, it sound like you enjoy the government mandating a law that is so unpopular.

Because the government has the option to NOT follow an unpopular law?

I never thought so..until recently

They don't follow immigration law, in fact Obama signed an executive order and in essence established the dream act. Obama picks and chooses the laws he wants to enforce. Seems like he could do the same here if he listened to the people.

The Josiah Bartlett Center for Still More Right-Wing Bull. Why is it that anti-democracy groups always take the name of someone or something beloved in American history? I guess it's good cover. The law works, and tagging it "Obamacare" while continuing to push lies and phony scandals designed to maintain dislike for the President in an effort to discredit even his good works is not just ridiculous, but unseemly. Republicans are now trying to cherry-pick the parts of the law that everybody likes, and claim that they want those things too, just not under this law (that THEY named after Obama). Well, without the law, those good parts would never have seen the light of day.

So the next time that you have an operation, have your doctor add some bleach in with the anti-biotics, after all without the anti-biotics you might not live.

HEADLINE - Great news: ObamaCare’s enrollment numbers are only about 33 percent bogus HEADLINE: Report: Just two-thirds of Obamacare enrollees in the federal marketplace have paid for their insurance plans.....hmmmmmm

A huge percentage of the total enrollment happened in the couple weeks before the March 30 deadline. Two weeks later, on April 15, when these numbers were cited, most of those new enrollees hadn't even received their bills yet, so of course they haven't paid.

Obamacare enrolled just 25% of the people 18-35 that they needed to enroll. 40% of the enrollees were those whose insurance plans were cancelled and just 67% have paid for their plans. But the point is still unclear why 250,000,000 with coverage had to be disenfranchised for 8,000,000. When Romney lost to Obama by 5,000,000 votes that was considered decisive and the 60,000,000 people voting for Romney were the "losers" and insignificant as point to by many of the same posters on this site. Yet, now 8,000,000 are so important, important enough to disenfranchise 5,000,000 who lost their insurance because of Obamacare stupid rules.

Very deft subject switch. So do you concede that it's premature to be wresting any kind of meaning from the fact that not everyone has paid their bills yet?

HEADLINE : Poll: Nearly 60% Don't Believe Obamacare Enrollment Numbers

So? At one point in our history, most people on earth did not believe that the earth revolves around the sun. Didn't make them right.

Unfortunately, there are those "in the dark" people who still believe we are in an Earth centric galaxy.

a debate response worthy of a 5th grader

There was absolutely nothing to debate. It doesn't matter what these 60% (of what population?) believe or don't believe. This poll was not any kind of measure of whether the Obamacare numbers are accurate so it was completely irrelevant to the conversation.

And who took this poll? The same Fox News that took the poll that said Romney was going to win?

sorry tillie - Kaiser foundation - google could have actually educated you in this case

That is the point of propaganda, to get people to believe things that are not true. Fox News is very bad at real information but very good at indoctrinating people. Especially people that are slightly paranoid about their government anyway. For five years they have lied about the ACA and have gotten people that do not question to believe their lies.

I must say comparing forty thousand NH residents to rats is a new low even for right wing posters.

So 800,000 people will be impacted when the employer mandate is enacted, all for 40,000 special people. Not rats tillie, the 800,000 are lab rats, under the microscope of experimentation as their good health care goes bad

If you leave rubbish out, you get rats. Is this a surprise?

According to stats I saw, 27% are in the target 18-34 group. In actuality, 20-34 year olds are 18.5% of the population, so they are a higher percentage of enrollees than they represent in the state population.

What percentage of the 40k people had their old policy canceled before signing up?

I don’t know; how about the same as the percentage of voters who typically commit voter fraud?

? I was looking for a real stat that would be useful. I understand that we all have opinions.

HEADLINE: North Carolina answers Democrats’ question ‘What vote fraud? - Kim Strach, the North Carolina director of elections, has living proof — and some dead proof — otherwise. She has identified 35,750 persons who voted in North Carolina sharing a name, birth date and Social Security number with someone who voted in another state in 2012.

Well fortunately we don't live in South Carolina or any other parts of the south.

You must be getting desperate--repeating phony voter fraud claims that were debunked on another thread a few weeks ago, and this on a thread about healthcare, no less. " The notion that the board found over 35,000 cases of voter fraud—or even one case—is flatly false. With the investigation not yet even underway, the board, headed by Republican Kim Strach, hasn’t come close to concluding that any specific case involved double voting.  And there are very good reasons why it’s held off. First, it helps to understand statistics. The political scientist Michael McDonald and election law scholar Justin Levitt have shown in a detailed statistical study that the number of people who share a name and birthdate is much higher than it might at first appear. (Just for fun, take the RNC’s Spicer. Though his name is less common than many, online records show 20 different Sean Spicers who were born on September 23rd, his birthday.) That statistical reality, McDonald and Levitt conclude, has big implications for how to treat potential cases of illegal voting." "The cross-check of North Carolina voters was conducted by the office of Kris Kobach, the controversial Secretary of State in Kansas. A long-time Republican political operative, Kobach is known nationally as the architect of legislation cracking down on immigrants in Arizona and elsewhere, as well as severe voting restrictions. Kobach launched the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program in 2005 as a free service to states -- almost exclusively those led by Republican lawmakers -- to flag voters who may be casting ballots in multiple states in the same election, which is a felony. Kobach and the state officials who have embraced his cross-check program say it has been a "success" in rooting out fraud, but there's little evidence to support the claim. When asked in October 2013, Kobach's office couldn't provide ANY evidence of a SINGLE instance in which the Interstate Crosscheck's data had led to an actual legal charge of voter fraud."

168 voted in Maryland / Virgina found so far out of the 40,000 with same name birthdate and SS #

Honestly, that's a decent question. Along with "How many of the 40K did not have insurance before this?" They're two sides of the same coin. But for those whose policies were cancelled, isn't the important thing that they are still insured, with presumably better coverage? (If the plans were cancelled, they were either crappy plans, or they weren't making the carriers enough money, and would have been canceled even without the new law.)

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