CONCORD, New Hampshire — About 4,700 New Hampshire residents selected a health plan through the new federal insurance market last month, putting the state over the target for the entire enrollment period that ends March 31, President Barack Obama's administration said Tuesday.
Figures released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show 4,715 New Hampshire residents signed up in February, bringing the total since enrollment opened Oct. 1 to 21,578. That's well over the target of 19,000 spelled out in a Sept. 5 memo to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Nationally, nearly 4.2 million people have signed up for private insurance under the health care law. As was the case nationally, more women have selected plans than men in New Hampshire. At 34 percent, adults ages 55 to 64 make up the largest age group, about 25 percent are ages 18 to 34, and less than 10 percent are ages 18 to 25. Nearly three-quarters have gotten financial help.
Among those who signed up in February was Judy Rappe, 59, of Conway, who had gone without insurance since 2012, when her husband had to stop working after a serious car accident. Rappe said a program through her local hospital has helped pay for her prescriptions, but she was unable to afford an insurance policy until she found one through the new marketplace.
Rappe, who describes herself as "not computer-literate at all," met with a marketplace assister at her local library to explore her options and enroll in a plan.
"Because of all the horror stories I'd seen on the news, I was very surprised it went so smooth," she said Tuesday.
Her new policy will cost her $30 a month.
"It's a good feeling," she said. "Now, I just need to call up the doctor and make some appointments."
New Hampshire opted not to set up its own marketplace and is partnering with the federal government to educate consumers and manage the health plans being offered. The state Executive Council is set to vote Wednesday on whether to allow the Insurance Department to accept a $2 million federal grant for continued plan management.
For now, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire is the only insurer now offering health plans through the exchange, and it has faced criticism for excluding 10 of the state's 26 hospitals from its provider network. At least two other companies have said they plan to begin offering plans next year.