NH - Chris Sununu 2-14-2019

Gov. Chris Sununu addresses a joint session of the Legislature as he delivers his budget address Feb. 14, 2019, in Concord.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu ended months of speculation when he signed into law a measure that temporarily suspends a requirement that certain participants in the state-run health care program work a minimum of 100 hours a month in order to qualify for care.

As a result, about 20,000 termination letters that were to be mailed out Wednesday weren't sent. The letters were to notify recipients their benefits were being terminated from the taxpayer-funded Granite Advantage program because they either didn't report they were working or hadn't received a waiver.

In a release provided by New Futures, President and CEO Michele Merritt said “We are pleased with the bipartisan agreement reached on Senate Bill 290, and encouraged by the affirmative steps taken by the state to prevent thousands of Granite Staters from losing critical health coverage. This is an important step by our policy makers to keep New Hampshire healthy."

The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has started to canvass the state in order to alert people to the change in the law and help them apply for a waiver to the work requirement if appropriate.

Among the reasons a waiver could be granted are if a resident is attending school or in a substance abuse recovery program. Caregivers are also eligible for relief from the work requirement. SB 290 changed the age for the children of caregivers eligible for a waiver from 6 to 12.

The work requirement directive only recently went into effect in the state, starting June 1. The suspension of the work requirement rule ends Sept. 30.

About 50,000 people participate in the Granite Advantage program.