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Deadline tonight for Obamacare enrollment

December 15. 2017 12:11AM

MANCHESTER — Open enrollment for individual health insurance for 2018 ends tonight, more than a month earlier than last year.

Through last Saturday, 25,242 New Hampshire residents had enrolled using the exchange.

The Dec. 15 deadline for 2018 is much earlier than the Jan. 31 deadline to enroll for 2017.

Another wrinkle making it difficult to compare enrollment numbers is the fact that Minuteman Health members have a special enrollment period until March 1, 2018, but they need to enroll by Dec. 31 to prevent a gap in coverage.

Minuteman Health, which had up to 20,000 New Hampshire customers, announced it June it was pulling out of the New Hampshire market in 2018.

The number of those who enrolled through the exchange as of Feb. 15, 2017 — after the Jan. 31 deadline — totaled 47,395, nearly double the amount of those who enrolled this year through Dec. 9.

Whether more people will sign up this year is “hard to say because it’s not over,” said Danielle Barrick, communications director with the state Insurance Department. “Minuteman members have more time (beyond the Friday deadline).”

The state has three companies selling qualified plans for 2018: Anthem, Ambetter and Harvard Pilgrim.

The state Insurance Department said in October that about 29,000 Granite States who received federal subsidies through likely won’t experience much change in their monthly premiums. Another 24,000 residents who don’t qualify for a federal subsidy or who buy a plan outside will see an average increase of 52 percent.

The third individual insurance group under Obamacare are the 43,000 people in the Premium Assistance Program who are income eligible, so that federal Medicaid dollars sent to New Hampshire cover all their premium costs.

The insurance department urged people who have bought insurance through to update their application on and compare options for 2018.

To receive accurate financial assistance for next year, people should update and sumit an application on the website.

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