Nearly 200,000 people in New Mexico don’t have health insurance*. For the uninsured, costs related to chronic disease management, urgent care, or preventive checkups may be unaffordable, preventing people from getting the health care they need to lead happier and healthier lives.
Fortunately, 62% of uninsured people living in New Mexico are eligible for Medicaid or a federal subsidy for health care coverage*. To help people learn about their options, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) launched the community-based Be Covered campaign. The initiative included statewide health and wellness events to provide outreach in underserved communities and to share meaningful information about health insurance enrollment.
“We wanted to engage our community partners and other managed care organizations for a mutual goal — to educate New Mexicans and get them enrolled,” said Janice Torrez, BCBSNM vice president of external affairs.
Held in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Las Cruces, the Be Covered events brought together a wide variety of organizations — including beWellnm, New Mexico’s health insurance exchange; and the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) — to help people better understand the benefits of enrollment, identify their subsidy eligibility options and empower them to make informed health care decisions for themselves and their families.
“You just never know when you’re going to need insurance,” said Maureen Manring of beWellnm. “Medical care is very important. Under these coverages through beWellnm, qualified health plans cover preventive care, but they also cover very comprehensive care.”
Orlando, a representative from HSD who helped people at the Santa Fe event enroll in the New Mexico Medicaid program, stressed the importance of getting as many people as possible in the state insured.
“A lot of people are really happy that we’re doing these types of events because it’s an opportunity to either enroll in health insurance or to get updated on some of the changes that have happened in the marketplace,” Orlando said.
David Sandoval said he enrolled in health insurance at the Be Covered event in Albuquerque and brought his wife and children to receive vision and health screenings provided at the event.
Sandoval has insurance now, but for some time his family didn’t have the coverage they needed for his daughters’ braces. “We finally got Centennial Care to help us with the braces, and that saved me over $6,000.”
In addition to enrollment opportunities and health screenings from local health care providers, the events provided family-friendly activities and healthy food giveaways.
More than 900 people attended the event in Santa Fe, and more than 1,000 attended the Albuquerque event.
“Ultimately, it’s about addressing the health care needs of our state,” Torrez said. “We’re dedicated to expanding access to cost-effective health care for all New Mexicans.”
*State Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2018. An additional 25% in NM may be eligible for Medicaid.