Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) met with constituents who enrolled in private health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act at an ACA Roundtable at Goodwin Community Health Center today. She heard from a group of people including newly insured families, people with preexisting conditions, and local counselors who helped Granite Staters sign up for health insurance plans.

“All of the new enrollees expressed great relief that they now have health insurance,” Shea-Porter said. “We’ve made tremendous progress in New Hampshire, and I’ll keep working to drive down costs and increase competition so everyone in our state has access to quality, affordable health care.”

“The Affordable Care Act has helped expand access to health care in Strafford County, and Goodwin is proud to be a part of that achievement,” said Janet Atkins, Executive Director of Goodwin Community Health Center. “On behalf of our staff and patients, many of whom have health insurance for the first time thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I want to thank Congresswoman Shea-Porter for working with Goodwin and other stakeholders to make sure the Affordable Care Act works for our communities and our citizens.”

Shea-Porter has worked throughout the past year to improve the Affordable Care Act and guarantee that everyone in New Hampshire has access to quality, affordable healthcare. At today’s event, Shea-Porter discussed the progress New Hampshire has made, such as exceeding its enrollment goals, passing a bipartisan plan to expand Medicaid, and news that two additional insurers plan to offer coverage on New Hampshire’s Marketplace next year. She also talked about the rollout of Healthcare.gov, saying it was not acceptable, and Anthem’s decision to offer a narrow network, which she strongly disagrees with.

As a result of Shea-Porter’s work to fix the ACA, the Department of Health and Human Services will actively enforce network adequacy regulations next year, instead of rubber stamping insurers’ networks of hospitals and doctors.

Stories from the event are summarized below:

Teri
After 13 working for someone else, Teri decided to start her own business. During her time under an individual health insurance plan, Teri developed a chronic condition, and although she was willing to pay her premiums and deductibles, Anthem dropped her coverage. It was financially devastating. Teri endured constant phone calls from bill collectors, foreclosure threats against her home, and the stress of being sick without insurance. As of April 1, Teri has health insurance through a private plan under the Affordable Care Act. “At least I know what will happen in the future,” Teri said.

Ben and Catherine
After losing their employer sponsored health insurance, Ben suffered a heart attack and underwent triple bypass surgery. Ben and Catherine were forced to refinance their home and wipe out their retirement savings in order pay for the procedure. Ben and Catherine officially regained health insurance last month, buying a Marketplace plan. “It’s a great relief to have health insurance again,” Ben said.

Emil
Emil is a self-employed father with a young daughter at home and another on the way. Emil and his wife reached out to Congresswoman Shea-Porter after encountering difficulties with Healthcare.gov. Through repeated phone calls, online inquiries, and support from Congresswoman Shea-Porter’s office, Emil signed up for a health insurance plan. As of today, he is covered by a plan that saves his family $400 each month, carries a lower deductible, and offers better benefits than the insurance he was buying before.

Coreen
Coreen is a part-time worker. Coreen and her husband were facing premiums of $800-$1,200 per month prior to the Affordable Care Act. Her family is now enrolled in a more affordable plan under the ACA. She spoke with Congresswoman Shea-Porter about news that two additional insurers plan to offer coverage on New Hampshire’s Marketplace next year.

Mike
Mike has a preexisting condition. For years, Mike did not have health insurance. As he put it, he “flew without a net.” Like many Granite Staters, Mike had trouble signing up for health insurance, but with help from the health care professionals at Goodwin Community Health Center, Mike signed up for an affordable plan and he is happy to have health insurance coverage. “I’ve been so motivated to talk about the Affordable Care Act that I got five people at work to look into getting coverage,” Mike said.

Patrice
After 25 years at her job, Patrice was let go. Patrice is diabetic, and she immediately started fighting to try and regain health insurance. But she kept getting the same answer: “You have a pre-existing condition,” and no insurer would cover her. Without a job and without health insurance, she could no longer afford medication. Patrice was unable to monitor her insulin, and she began getting seizures. Then, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, everything changed. On January 1st, she enrolled in a plan on the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace. “When I got my insurance card, I drove to my doctors and I finally had a smile on my face,” Patrice said.

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