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New Hampshire’s Obamacare website launches today, same day as deadline to sign up

Scroll down the front page of the brand new website CoveringNewHampshire.org and take a look at the “Key Dates” section.

“Oct. 1: Open enrollment began,” it reads. “Jan. 1: Earliest date coverage begins. . . . Mar. 31: Open enrollment closes for plan year 2014.”

There’s one important date missing: Today.

Dec. 24 is the last day for people to enroll in a health plan on New Hampshire’s federally run insurance marketplace in order to get coverage starting Jan. 1. The enrollment period was scheduled to end Dec. 15, but was extended twice, first to Dec. 23, and then, over the weekend and without much fanfare, to midnight tonight.

The CoveringNewHampshire.org site almost missed being available for people before this first deadline. It also almost never existed at all.

The site was built using part of a $5.4 million federal grant the state received because it is implementing the Affordable Care Act in a partnership with the federal government.

Republicans in the Legislature blocked the New Hampshire Insurance Department’s acceptance of the grant in the spring, saying the site and in-person assisters it would fund would overlap with federal efforts and confuse consumers.

In August, the New Hampshire Health Plan, the state’s high-risk insurance pool, received approval to administer the grant. The plan is overseen by an independent board, which officials said made it independent from legislative oversight.

“We knew our site was going to be late coming out, because we got started late in the game. It’s great it will be out there at the end, and I think during the first quarter of next year, I hope it’s a valuable tool,” said Mike Degnan, executive director of the New Hampshire Health Plan.

“Our goal was to get some information source out there that is specific to New Hampshire. I think it meets that goal. It flows pretty well, it’s got a lot of good information – it’s simple to use, and we’re hoping it meets in the needs long term for the citizens of New Hampshire.”

One page on the site explains the essential health benefits that all plans on the marketplace must cover, along with definitions for some words and terms that show up frequently in conversations about insurance, such as premium, deductible and co-pay.

Another page allows visitors to compare the costs and coverage of the 11 insurance plans available on New Hampshire’s marketplace.

The site also has a list of resources organized by county where people can get help enrolling in a plan.

Despite all those resources on the new site, New Hampshire residents haven’t missed out on much because of the late debut, said Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Other states, including many that are running their own marketplaces, are still having significant trouble getting information to people and processing enrollment applications.

In Oregon and Maryland, for example, the deadline for Jan. 1 coverage is Dec. 27, but the states’ sites are barely functional, she said.

Oregon’s system sent automatic messages to applicants Friday, warning them that unless they received confirmation of enrollment by yesterday, their paperwork won’t be processed in time for Jan. 1 coverage.

“There’s definitely still time for people to use a site like” CoveringNewHampshire.org, she said. “If you’ve got a website that’s working, good for you. Take advantage of the time that’s left.”

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

Legacy Comments8

Didn't we already have a war on taxation without representation? It didn't turn out too well for that government. Question is, what country should we ship these morons back too?

NObamaKare is already in a death spiral and it has ZERO to do with Responsible Republicans - this is all a 100% democrat created monster. Here are headlines for you to read why the simple math does ....not... Not....NOT add up for it to be successful. Only a massive insurance company bailout on the level of TARP is going to help this disaster. Obama already has that in place in the massive 2800 page bill. HEADLINES: 1) New York Times: Obamacare Decimates Middle Class:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/21/business/new-health-law-frustrates-many-in-middle-class.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 2) Showpiece California Obamacare Program Failing: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/12/23/Covered-California-disaster

If the "responsible republicans" had not interfered with the law every step of the way, there is no doubt that it would all have run more smoothly. In New Hampshire, the lack of a state-run exchange has increased the difficulty, and effectively prevented entry into the market by insurers other than Anthem. That will change within a year or so, and rates will decrease further. In the meantime, I got insurance, and cheaper than what I had before. It's working, and will continue to do so. Deal with it. BTW: NYT article --"decimates" -- NOT.

Interfered? Please be intellectually honest. The website was a blowout and the worst part of this law is that people who have taken responsibility for their insurance for decades will see an exponential jump in premiums and deductibles so that people can be "subsidized". Most of those people are "middle class", families of four who will realize approximately $7500 added to their household expenses. THANK GOD that Republicans spoke up!

Correct, good post on the NYT and if people think that Democrats and Obama did not realize that this was going to be the result, then they are naive. If you earn between $80,000 to $100,000 and are a family of four, you will be spending $620 per month more if your employer drops insurance coverage and your deductible will go from $1000 or $1500 to $12000. Progressives talked about debt due to health care costs. Look at the result. Another 90 million people next year will see their fate is the same as those losing coverage this year. Politicians see this as directing the spending of taxpayers to one industry, healthcare.

Notice the website ends in .org, not .Gov.

Yes New Hampshire, even WE get healthcare despite the hard work of republicans to keep the same lousy, costly & existing system. The website came online today--a day after the deadline! NH had to be sued by the Justice Department just to get us to take care of our mentally ill & that was not decades ago--it was last week! The link in this article doesn't even bring you to the page? Well, despite all fat cat politician's efforts, by God you & your kids can now get covered! Right over here coveringnewhampshire.org Happy Healthcare!

Good luck affording it. Healtcare will cost you more than food for your family.

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