SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Managers of New Mexico’s health insurance exchange have scheduled a special open enrollment period from Feb. 15 through May 15 in response to a federal mandate from President Joe Biden.
Nearly 43,000 residents of New Mexico rely on the marketplace for health insurance, with the promise of federal subsidies for consumers with low and moderate incomes who make too much to qualify for Medicaid.
State health exchange CEO Jeffery Bustamante said Thursday that the new open enrollment period provides a unique and streamlined opportunity for people to purchase health insurance amid the pandemic. Coverage is available to people who don’t have job-based health insurance.
Open enrollment typically takes place only in November and December at the insurance exchange known as beWellnm. There are five insurance carriers that offer coverage in every county in the state.
State legislators are considering a proposal to expand subsidies to the state’s health insurance exchange through a state surtax on insurance premiums. Those proposed subsidies would not take effect until 2023.
New Mexico residents have flocked to Medicaid health care, with 43% enrollment statewide as of November as the coronavirus wreaks economic havoc. Newcomers can stay on Medicaid for an extended period even as they regain employment under temporary provisions related to the pandemic.