As the deadline rapidly approaches, the state has been reminding residents that they should act quickly.
New Mexico has been reminding people who have not yet purchased their health insurance that they should head to the state exchange if they want to be sure they’ve bought their coverage in time for the first deadline on December 15.
For people who want their coverage to start on January 1, 2016, they need to buy a health plan by Tuesday.
The final deadline for the open enrollment period is going to be on January 31, 2016. That said, if residents wait until that deadline, it will mean that they will miss the opportunity to be covered for the first month of the year. The December 15 deadline is also the deadline to enroll in the Blue Cross Blue Shield plan or through the New Mexico health insurance exchange, BeWellNM. For coverage that will start on February 1, there is a second deadline of which they should be aware, which is January 15.
For people who wait until the January 31 deadline to buy health insurance, coverage won’t start until March 1.
Blue Cross Blue Shield has opted out of offering its health plans through the insurance exchange, this year, which means that customers who had previously been covered by them and who want to purchase their plans through the exchange will also need to switch providers. The companies that are selling plans on the BeWellNM marketplace are Presbyterian Health, Molina Healthcare and Christus.
The director of communications, marketing and outreach at BeWellNM, Linda Weeden, explained that the reason Blue Cross Blue Shield was not able to take part in the insurance exchange this year was that the provider intended to raise their premiums by an amount that was refused by the state’s Office of Insurance.
Weeden stated that the insurer had wanted to raise their premiums because under the Affordable Care Act, a health insurance company is not permitted to deny someone coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Therefore, to cover their predicted costs of insuring people with pre-existing conditions, they felt they needed to boost their premiums to everyone as they could not spike the price just for the individuals with the pre-existing conditions.