By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
Early response in the form of inquiries about enhanced Medicaid and the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange in the federal Affordable Care Act has been brisk at Quay County’s Income Support Division office, but light at other ACA information resources, according to agency representatives.
Inquiries about Medicaid and the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange has brought steady traffic to Quay County centers of information about enrolling in ACA programs, Mary Rose Jimenez, director of New Mexico Income Support Division programs in Tucumcari, said.
Lance Labine, administrator of the Dr. Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital, said the hospital’s clinic, another designated information resource, has received a few inquiries since enrollment opened Oct. 1, but staff members are still being trained to become certified application counselors under ACA.
Becky Wallace, administrator of the Quay County Family Health Center, another designated information resource, has not received any questions about ACA, she said. “They’ve all been going to Income Support, she said.
Wallace said the family health center’s certified application counselors have not yet been trained, because the Internet resources that provide training have not been functioning well, she said.
Enrollment in ACA’s expanded Medicaid and health exchange programs started Oct. 1 and will continue for six months. The ACA will start covering fully enrolled individuals as early as Jan. 1, 2014.
Nationally, the White House reported that more than 7 million people had visited the government’s health care website, healthcare.gov, in the first two days of operation. The White House has not indicated how many people have actually applied to enroll in programs under the health care act. Further information from federal sources has been hampered by the federal government shutdown, which was caused by a showdown over the ACA in Congress.