More than 40,000 New Hampshire residents enrolled in health plans through the Affordable Care Act, according to new figures out from the federal government.
Nearly half the sign-ups came during a March and April surge, erasing a poor showing in the early months when healthcare.gov was plagued by technical glitches.
Even supporters of the law reacted with surprise to the final tally for the open enrollment period.
"It’s spectacular. I can’t say anything more than that," says Karen Hicks, project director for Covering New Hampshire. "It exceeds my most optimistic expectations about how well we would do, and so I feel really proud to be part of an effort that helped sign this many people up for something that I think is really going to make a difference in their lives."
CMS also released some details on just who signed up. We know that 53% in New Hampshire were female. We also know that just 27% of the sign-ups were people between the ages of 18-34.
This group, for lack of a better term, are known in policy circles as ‘young invincibles.’ They are crucial in making this law work because you need a balance of younger, presumably healthier people along with older, presumably less health people in the insurance pool.
The Obama administration had targeted a 40% share for this age group.
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It can be tough convincing younger people that health insurance is a worthwhile investment. Another hurdle, according to Karen Hicks, is that many potential sign ups didn't know they may qualify for financial subsidies.
While these are the final tallies for the first enrollment period, don't expect the Affordable Care Act to lose the spotlight. Arguments both for and against the law will likely dominate the campaign trail and television advertisements in the lead up to elections.
The latest polling out of UNH shows the law remains unpopular in New Hampshire: 51% oppose the Affordable Care Act. It's unclear how or if positive sign-up numbers will influence public opinion.