SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico and other states are expanding how businesses and individuals can obtain health insurance. Here are five things to know about New Mexico’s health insurance exchange that starts operating today.
1. NOT ONLY THE UNINSURED
The exchange is aimed at the nearly one in four residents lacking medical coverage, but New Mexicans who already buy their own insurance can use the exchange to look for more affordable options. Open enrollment is for coverage starting in January.
2. IT’S A HYBRID
New Mexico is using its state-run exchange (http://www.bewellnm.com/ ) to sign up small businesses. There’s a Spanish language version of the website (https://seguroquesinm.com/ ). However, a federally operated computer system initially will handle enrollment for individuals, who can go to the state exchange website to link to the federal site.
3. HELP IS ON THE WAY
New Mexico is operating a toll-free call center to provide assistance in English and Spanish. The phone operation starts at 8 a.m. Tuesday. The number is 1-855-99NMHIX. That’s 1-855-996-6449.
4. MORE THAN A WEBSITE
Enrollment is possible in person at about 200 sites across the state, mainly medical clinics and hospitals. Trained “health care guides” can assist people with enrollment. Brokers are available to offer advice on the different insurance plans available.
5. BE PREPARED
Do some homework to make enrollment go more smoothly. Gather Social Security numbers for everyone in your family; income for household members, such as that on W-2 tax forms; policy numbers for existing health insurance plans; and information about any health plan that family members are eligible for currently, such as through an employer.