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Four Firms File To Sell On NM Insurance Exchange

Four Firms File To Sell On NM Insurance Exchange

Many Counties Projected To Be Without Coverage

Four health insurance companies have filed to sell individual policies on the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange in 2018.

If the companies continue the rate-making process and actually sell on the exchange, it will make New Mexico an outlier — in a good way — when it comes to consumer choice on the insurance exchanges and the individual health insurance market.

According to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, New Mexico is one of 10 states that are projected to have three or more insurers selling individual policies through their exchanges.

CMS said that nationwide, 47 counties are projected to have no exchange-based insurers next year, meaning that residents of those counties could be without coverage on the exchanges.

“It’s also projected that as many as 1,200 counties — nearly 40 percent of counties nationwide — could have only one issuer in 2018,” CMS said. “Currently, for 2018 at least 35,000 active exchange participants live in the counties projected to be without coverage in 2018, and roughly 2.4 million exchange participants are projected to have one issuer. It’s expected that the number of consumers with no coverage choices will rise.”

The companies that have filed to sell on New Mexico’s exchange next year are the same ones that are on the exchange this year: New Mexico Health Connections, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, Molina Healthcare of New Mexico and CHRISTUS Health Plan.

The firms filed their proposed 2018 rates with the New Mexico Office of the Superintendent of Insurance.

OSI spokesperson Heather Widler said the proposed rates, and how they compare to this year’s rates, will be on the agency’s website later this month.

The initial filings are just the first round of the rate-making process. The insurers will be able to adjust their rates in a second filing in the summer, Widler said.

Around 55,000 New Mexicans bought individual policies on the exchange this year.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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Lex Voytek is a nervous wreck and reading quiets the noise. Reach her at books@freeabq.com.