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Health Insurance For Sale at NH Wal-Marts?

April 23, 2007

Concord, NH - Several New Hampshire Wal-Mart stores will serve as health insurance sign-up centers this week, during "National Cover the Uninsured Week." Community health centers and the Bi-State Primary Care Association of New Hampshire and Vermont are working to enroll people in the state's Healthy Kids program, and make health insurance affordable for more area residents. More than 8 percent of New Hampshire residents are uninsured, and another 35 percent don't have enough health insurance. Helen Taft, executive director for Families First Health and Support Center, says that means higher costs for the rest of us.

“In New Hampshire, a family pays almost $1,000 more in health insurance premiums in order to cover the cost of uninsured individuals in the state, so there's a lot of cost shifting that goes on.”

In addition to signing people up for Healthy Kids, the group is also spreading the message that affordable health care should be a statewide priority.

Ann Peters, executive director of Lamprey Health Care, explains that community health centers have to pick up the slack when so many people are uninsured.

“It is more difficult for the uninsured to establish a medical care home, and the community health centers are a safety net that have really gone a long way of meeting the needs of the uninsured.”

John Robinson/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NH