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State Insurance Exchange Looks To Rural Areas

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The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange reported this week that a record 54,586 people signed up for insurance using the exchange during the Affordable Care Act’s most recent open enrollment period.

Organizers at the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange are calling that a success, especially since a good chunk of the new enrollees had lost their insurance after Blue Cross Blue Shield pulled out of the state exchange last year.

But Linda Wedeen, who’s in charge of outreach for the exchange, said enrollment hasn’t been as strong in some parts of the state.

"Now we’re looking at those folks who are in the outlying areas, the more rural areas," she said. "People who we haven’t given the message, or they haven’t received the message, or they haven’t acted upon the message, and we’re trying to figure out why."

The health exchange is doing a study with the American Institutes of Research to identify uninsured populations in New Mexico and to find ways to reach out to them before the next open enrollment period. 

Ed Williams came to KUNM in 2014 by way of Carbondale, Colorado, where he worked as a public radio reporter covering environmental issues. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ed has reported on environmental, social justice, immigration and Native American issues in the U.S. and Latin America for the Austin American-Statesman, Z Magazine, NPR’s Latino USA and others. In his spare time, look for Ed riding his mountain bike in the Sandias or sparring on the jiu-jitsu mat.
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