NM expecting fewer for health exchange enrollment

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico’s state-run health insurance exchange has sharply reduced its enrollment expectations for this year by about half.

Mike Nunez, interim chief executive officer of the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, says problems with the federal healthcare.gov website slowed the state’s efforts to promote enrollment.

The state had expected up to 83,000 people to register this year, according to a 2011 study cited in an application for a grant under the Affordable Care Act.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports Nunez now estimates only between 40,000 and 50,000 will enroll.

The exchange announced Thursday it was awarded a $69.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The state had applied for $81 million. The lesser amount was due to federal spending cuts and lower than expected costs for integrating information technology systems for the state health exchange, Nunez said.

The first open-enrollment period for individual policies ends March 31. Small-business enrollment will be open for the remainder of the year.

The state health exchange had little turnout in November with only 934 consumers registering. But about 7,688 enrolled by Dec. 28. New Mexicans ages 35 to 64 represented about 74 percent of enrollment. However, that age group accounts for not quite 40 percent of the state’s population.

Young adults ages 18 to 34 were 18 percent of total enrollment in the state, and 8 percent were under 18.

According to the exchange, federal figures show more than 8,500 New Mexicans applied for a health plan through the exchange during the first two months of its operation. They sought coverage for more than 16,000 people, including themselves, spouses and children.


Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican

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