Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Jamie Cushman
Eastern New Mexico News 

Health insurance information event scheduled


October 11, 2017 | View PDF

CLOVIS — Do you need to sign up for health insurance but you don’t know where to go? Do you want to know if your premiums are increasing next year? Do you have no idea how the health care system works?

All of those questions and more will be answered when the state’s third annual Health Insurance Road Show comes to Clovis on Oct. 19.

Put on by the Office of Superintendent of Insurance (OSI) and beWellnm, the state’s health insurance marketplace, the event will provide information to health care providers and consumers about changes to the marketplace this year and how to register for health insurance as the start of open enrollment approaches.

“With changes coming up, the better informed each one of us is as consumers, the better choices we can make as a consumer for ourselves and families,” beWellnm New Mexico Outreach Manager Veronica Reyes said.

“What we do is we have a presentation where we talk to consumers about how insurance works, what consumer protections are out there and how premium rates are developed,” OSI Health Care Policy Manager Paige Duhamel said.

Duhamel said one topic of conversation at the road show will be the fact that premiums have increased because Congress did not fund parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but those increases will be mostly offset by financial assistance from beWellnm.

“Prices are going up depending on what plan and which carrier they choose, however at the same time that prices are going up so do the subsidies, so that’s why it’s important they reach out to somebody from the marketplace to get assistance,” Reyes said.

Reyes said consumers can acquire insurance outside of the beWellnm marketplace, but then they will not be able to take advantage of subsidies that could lower their health care cost.

Another discussion point at the event will be a clarification from OSI about the state’s Patient Protection Act, Duhamel said.

The law ensures that consumers are protected if a health care emergency forces them to use an out-of-network hospital.

The consumer only needs to pay the same amount as if they had gone to an in-network hospital, forcing the provider and insurance company to work out the difference, Duhamel said.

With all of that national media coverage surrounding efforts to repeal ACA, Reyes said the event will be important for informing consumers that beWellnm will still be providing health care to New Mexicans.

Representatives from the four health insurance carriers participating in be Wellnm this year, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Christus Health Plan, Molina and NM Health Connections, will also be in attendance to provide information and answer questions about their respective plans.

The event will begin with a session from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. that will discuss in-depth changes to the marketplace primarily intended for health care providers and will conclude with a 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. session directed toward consumers.


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