NM media push on health insurance exchange on hold

October 18, 2013 • State News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is postponing a media push for its health insurance exchange while glitches in the federal system are worked out.

TV commercials and other paid advertising are ready to go, but they’re on hold, said Robin Hunn, a spokeswoman for the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange. Other states that had planned to use Twitter and Facebook to advertise health exchanges are scaling back media [auth] campaigns, as well.

Federal health officials have been working around the clock to fix technology glitches plaguing the website where U.S. citizens can obtain health insurance under the federal law.

New Mexico took a hybrid approach to the online marketplace — implementing a state-run computer system to sign up small businesses but initially relying on a federal website to handle individuals.

Hunn said more than 670 businesses have set up accounts, but she’s unsure how many New Mexicans have tried to enroll in individual plans. The state site had recorded more than 45,650 unique visits since Oct. 6.

“There is some level of frustration out there among people who have tried to open accounts on the federal exchange,” Hunn told the Albuquerque Journal ( ) for a story published Friday. “Hopefully, the feds will get it worked out very soon.”

About 80,000 New Mexicans are expected to enroll in health plans they obtain from private insurers through the exchange in its first year.

The state anticipates an additional 133,000 uninsured New Mexicans will gain medical coverage through an expansion of Medicaid, which starts in January under terms of the federal health care overhaul that also provided for the online insurance marketplace.

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