Insurance deadline gets crowd

By Steve Hansen

QCS Managing Editor

Health insurance enrollment activity increased in Quay County as the Monday deadline approached to enroll for health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act, health and welfare officials said.

The Quay County Health Council and county government sponsored a “last chance” event at Mesalands Community College Thursday. This event, like two others before, made assistance from trained advisers available to persons signing up for health insurance under the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX).

Alida Brown, health council coordinator, estimated the turnout on Thursday at about 25 individuals.

“Some just dropped in to get questions answered,” she said, but others used computers to complete their enrollments for health insurance.

In the two previous sessions, Brown said, the turnout was about the same.

In all, she said, the enrollment events drew about 60 persons who either completed or got started on health insurance enrollments.

Mary Rose Jimenez, supervisor of the Human Services Dept. office in Tucumcari, said more people than usual turned up to ask about signing up for health insurance as the deadline loomed.

Human Services clientele, welfare and food stamp recipients, tend to qualify for Centennial Care, which means their income levels are low enough to qualify them to receive health insurance at no cost.

The March 31 deadline, however, does not apply to Centennial Care recipients, she said.

Jimenez said that special promotional efforts from October to early January had succeeded in getting many Centennial Care recipients enrolled.

Statewide, enrollment numbers for health insurance were expected to fall short of the 40,000 that state officials had set as a goal, a spokesperson for NMHIX said Tuesday.

Nationally, White House spokesman Jay Carney said more than 7 million Americans had signed up for health insurance under the ACA.

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