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Exchange name: New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX)
Website: The online marketplace is called Be Well NM and may be found at bewellnm.com. At this time, however, individuals and families will be forwarded to healthcare.gov to apply for coverage. NMHIX will operate the small business component.
State-based or federally run: NMHIX was among the 17 declared state-based health insurance exchanges, which include Washington, D.C. However, it has been rolled out as a hybrid.
New Mexico’s exchange is quasi-governmental, specifically a nonprofit public corporation. A board of directors governs the exchange.
Plans: New Mexico individuals, families, Tribal Members, and employees with participating employers may buy health insurance at New Mexico’s online marketplace, Be Well NM. Coverage may also be obtained with the free assistance of a Health Care Guide, agent or broker.
A list of carriers and plan descriptions may be found at the New Mexico Office of the Superintendent of Insurance website. Otherwise, those purchasing individual major medical insurance must register with healthcare.gov to see plan details.
As with all qualified health plans, coverage falls into Obamacare’s four metal level categories—bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Furthermore, plans sold via the federal exchange will include a catastrophic plan for those younger than 30 and others who qualify due to income. Plans will also include services within the 10 essential health benefits categories. In states that did not select a benchmark plan for essential health benefits, the default EHB plan became the state’s largest small group health plan.
Rates: Click here for the New Mexico Health Insurance Summary for 2014. Monthly premiums will vary based on plan selection as well as the applicant’s age, geographical location, family size and tobacco use. Under the Affordable Care Act, Americans cannot be denied coverage or charged more due to preexisting conditions. These provisions apply whether plans are purchased via the marketplace or not.
Those who purchase health coverage through the Obamacare exchanges may qualify for tax credits and additional premium subsidies, depending on household income. The healthedeals.com Health Care Reform Calculator, which was listed among The Financial Times “Best Online Tools for the Toughest Health Questions,” can help those planning to buy from an exchange calculate their Obamacare health insurance cost and tax credit.
Consumer assistance: Those who need help shopping and applying for coverage may call 855-99-NMHIX; they may also find a broker or locate an in-person Health Care Guide at bewellnm.com
New Mexico’s residents have experienced the same enrollment difficulties as many others due to glitches in the over-taxed federal system. It can be helpful to remember that coverage for 2014 may be purchased as late as mid-December 2013.
Additional coverage options
Consumers in all states are wise to consider additional protection. For instance, a bundled gap plan that includes coverages such as accident medical expense insurance and accident disability income insurance pays lump-sum cash benefits when a qualifying event occurs and can help create more comprehensive benefits like those offered through an employer. A critical illness insurance plan pays out lump-sum cash benefits upon diagnosis of certain illnesses that can be used for everything from medical bills to childcare.
Supplemental insurance is not available through state-based or federally operated health insurance exchanges and do not qualify for Obamacare premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies. However, these plans come in designs to fit various household budgets, and they easy to obtain directly from the plan’s carrier or a licensed agent or broker.
Need coverage now?
If you need health insurance to get you by until Jan. 1, 2014, a temporary insurance plan can provide coverage for as few as 30 days. Start shopping on healthedeals.com or contact a healthedeals.com sales consultant for more information on short-term health insurance and supplemental plans.
Jenifer Dorsey is a freelance writer whose specialties include health and fitness, wellness, sports and recreation. She is a competitive amateur track cyclist who also enjoys mountain biking, hiking, camping and other outdoor adventure. Jenifer received a B.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago and is an MFA candidate at Naropa University. She lives in Colorado.