MANCHESTER — Congress has approved funding to support the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Navigators program, and $1.6 million is heading to the New Hampshire.

ACA Navigators help people get information and support to find quality health care plans at affordable prices.

Last week, U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Reps. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) and Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) applauded the announcement, with Shaheen saying:

“The ACA Navigators program helps families find health-care plans that are right for them at the price they can afford. I fought against the Trump administration’s repeated sabotage of the program, which left New Hampshire with no community navigators to help families navigate complex health insurance networks. That’s why I’m pleased to welcome $1.6 million to New Hampshire to right that wrong and connect more families with the health care they deserve.”

Shawnee noted that open enrollment will be coming up soon and said, “This funding can’t come soon enough to revive this critical program in New Hampshire.”

New Hampshire’s congressional delegation members noted the Trump administration slashed funding by more than 80 percent and said the $1.6 million grant will restore federal funding that had been cut.

Through the grant, $1 million will be awarded to Health Market Connect and $600,000 will go to First Choice Services to continue remote services as well as establish community navigators across the state, including at the New Hampshire Foundation for Healthy Communities, Harbor Care and Lamprey.

Hassan said: “I was deeply concerned by the previous administration’s decision to cut this important and commonsense program. I am very glad that New Hampshire is receiving this much-needed federal funding to build back the Navigator program, as well as continue remote services to help more Granite Staters get the health care that they need.

Pappas said: “As we approach the annual open enrollment period this fall, it’s essential that Granite Staters understand their health care options and are able to access enrollment assistance. I’m pleased that this grant funding for outreach and education is being provided to New Hampshire to ensure residents are able to sign up for a plan that meets their needs.”

Elias Ashooh, the Project Director of Health Market Connect said the grant will make health insurance more accessible for Granite Staters.

“By bringing back an in-state presence of ACA Navigators, our team is uniquely positioned to reach the diverse, underserved, and vulnerable communities across the state,” Ashooh said. “We look forward to working with hospitals, health centers, and other community stakeholders to reduce the number of people without health insurance and create healthier communities across New Hampshire.”

Shaheen and Hassan worked with a group of Senators led by Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) to introduce the Expand Navigators’ Resources for Outreach, Learning, and Longevity (ENROLL) Act to restore funding for the Navigator program.

Shaheen previously introduced legislation to counteract efforts that blocked Americans from having the help or information they need to find the best health care plans. Her Marketing and Outreach Restoration to Empower (MORE) Health Education Act would have ensured funds for outreach, marketing and education efforts to promote health insurance coverage offered on the federal health insurance marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act. 

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