New Mexico Health Exchange Still In Question

May 15, 2013

States aiming to run their own health insurance exchanges, will be in need of federal grants to get those exchanges launched, and are facing a deadline today. New Mexico's application is in, but there's still a question of whether or not the exchange will be run by the state, federal government, or both.

New Mexico's federal grant request totals about $20-million dollars, and will be used for marketing, public relations, and outreach. With much of the states population living in rural areas, that outreach will be critical to the exchanges survival.

Over 20% of New Mexicans currently lack any form of health insurance. That's over 415,000 people, and it's estimated that half of that population could be enrolled in the states health exchange by the end of the decade, or face tax penalties. The rest of the states uninsured population will qualify for medicare or the states expanded Medicaid program.

But with exchanges required to be up and running nationally by October 1st, New Mexico's Insurance Exchange chair, Dr. JR Damron says he's not sure the state can do that on its own.

In light of that short timeline, Damron expects New Mexico to have a final proposal for the federal government on whether to adopt a hybrid, state or federal health exchange model.