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NM Health Exchange advertising on hold

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This is a computer rendered image of one of the billboards planned for around Albuquerque to promote the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange.

This is a computer rendered image of one of the billboards planned for around Albuquerque to promote the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange.

Copyright © 2013 Albuquerque Journal

The TV commercials and other paid advertising are ready to go, but the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange is postponing its promotional push to get individuals to buy health insurance in the face of problems plaguing the federal exchange.

“We’re holding back on paid media until we know when the glitches at the federal exchange can get worked out,” Robin Hunn, an exchange spokeswoman, told the Journal.

New Mexico’s exchange, known as a SHOP exchange, is successfully enrolling small businesses that want to provide insurance to their employees, but it also acts as a portal to the federal exchange where individuals are sent to purchase health insurance.

“The SHOP system is working fine, so we are promoting that with the same energy as before,” Hunn said, adding that 672 small businesses have set up accounts on the exchange.

Hunn said she does not know how many New Mexicans have tried to enroll on the federal exchange via the New Mexico website, but she said there had been 45,651 unique visitors to the state website as of Oct. 6.

“There is some level of frustration out there among people who have tried to open accounts on the federal exchange,” she said. “Hopefully, the feds will get it worked out very soon.”

Hunn said federal officials have not said when they expect problems to be solved but that they update exchange officials daily.

An analysis by Millward Brown Digital, a New York-based multinational marketing consulting firm, found that in the first week of operation, the federal exchange website received 9.47 million unique visitors. Of those, 3.72 million attempted to register, which is required before an individual can begin to shop for insurance.

Among those who attempted to register, 1.01 million were able to complete the registration, but only 271,000 successfully logged onto the website after they registered. Only 36,000 visitors were able to complete the process of enrolling.

The exchange website “was clearly unprepared to handle the huge spike in traffic on Oct. 1, the start of open enrollment,” according to Millward Brown. “This is roughly equivalent to the daily traffic” on the Target retail store’s website.

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