New Mexico wants to start out running only the SHOP exchange. (CMS image)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Managers of the New Mexico state-based health insurance exchange program may hire a marketing team led by a Milwaukee firm.

The exchange board has agreed to award a marketing contract with a value of up to $7.7 million to an alliance led by BVK.

BVK joined with Cooney, Watson & Associates of Albuquerque to compete for the contract.

New Mexico originally was going to run a state-based individual exchange and a state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) small-group exchange.

The state now plans to run its own state-based SHOP exchange in 2014 and let the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) run the individual exchange.

State Human Services Department spokesman Matt Kennicott, who serves on the exchange board when the department secretary can’t attend meetings, said Friday that the chief executive officer of the New Mexico exchange is in the process of negotiating a final contract with BVK.

Exchange managers are hoping that about 83,000 uninsured New Mexicans will get obtain insurance through the exchange system next year.

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