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Granite Staters urged to sign up for health coverage before Dec. 15

Advocates try to make up for shorter registration, slashed advertising budget

New Hampshire's senators are urging Granite Staters who need health insurance to sign up this week for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Dec. 15 is the final day to register for coverage for 2018. Advocates said obstacles thrown up by the federal government have made it more challenging to sign up this year, but a grassroots effort is underway to make sure everyone who needs it has coverage.

There are six fewer weeks to register this year, and the advertising budget has been slashed by 90 percent. Advocates said it has been an uphill climb, and the deadline is looming.

"We've had changes to available plans, so don't just go in and sign up for the same plan for 2018," said. U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. "Look around on the website, see what's most important for you and pick out the plan that's best."

Proponents admitted that logging onto can be intimidating and frustrating, but there is free help available from real human beings, who can discuss options and check to see if people qualify for subsidies that could bring premiums down to $100 or $50 per month.

New Hampshire residents can get help at

"It is really important right now to shop around, because you can find different plans priced differently than you may have thought, and it's critical that you take the time to choose a plan that's going to work for you," said U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.

To date, 20,000 New Hampshire residents have signed up for coverage in 2018, which is very close the number that registered last year. Lawmakers said that's a testament to a grassroots effort of getting the word out, in particular to low-income and immigrant families in the state.

"The difference is that they'll have health care, access to preventative and primary care as well as urgent and emergency care, and it's so important for all of us," Hassan said.

Registration ends midnight the night of Dec. 15.