NHPR – Helping Thousands of NH Residents Hold Onto Medicaid Coverage

Sara Castonguay, a new mom in Manchester, is usually overwhelmed at the thought of updating her Medicaid enrollment paperwork. She finds the state’s online registration portal hard to navigate. And when she’s tried calling for help, she sometimes ends up stuck on hold — often, she doesn’t have time to wait around for an answer.

“I find that there’s not enough hours in the day,” Castonguay said.

That’s why she was so relieved when, earlier this summer, she got a text from her Medicaid provider about an event offering in-person help with her enrollment paperwork. Hosted after her work hours at an elementary school in her neighborhood, it gave her a chance to speak face-to-face with state health officials and submit all of the documentation needed to keep her coverage.

“It is very helpful to see the community kind of come together with what they offer and to help everybody out,” she said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, New Hampshire and other states have been required to keep people enrolled in Medicaid throughout the ongoing federal public health emergency — even if they haven’t filed key paperwork or have lost eligibility due to a change in income, for example. It’s not clear when the federal public health emergency will end, but when it does, about 90,000 Granite Staters could risk losing Medicaid access.