SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The cost of medical coverage plans available through New Mexico’s health insurance exchange likely will be lower than in many other states, according to a new national study.
The state’s insurance regulator also said uninsured New Mexicans will find more health insurance options through the exchange than currently are available through the private insurance market. For people who qualify for federal subsidies to buy their insurance, premiums will typically be lower than current market rates, according to State Insurance Superintendent John Franchini.
For consumers who qualify for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) tax credits, the consumer’s share of the premium will be very low, and carriers will have a hard time beating the exchange plans’ subsidy-adjusted prices, Franchini said.
“That’s the fact that might drive a lot of people to the exchanges,” Franchini said.
The exchange is to serve as an online shopping center for buying insurance from private companies, and about 83,000 uninsured New Mexicans are expected to enroll next year.
PPACA requires exchanges to begin enrollment Oct. 1 and be fully operating in January. New Mexico initially plans to use a federally operated exchange to enroll individuals and a state-run system for businesses.
A study released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation reviewed insurance premiums proposed to state regulators for exchange plans in the District of Columbia and 17 states, including New Mexico.
Franchini said the New Mexico rates submitted by five insurance companies will be very close to what regulators will soon approve.
“This is the first time in many, many years that we’ve had five insurance companies actively writing business in the individual markets,” Franchini said. “It’s really been only two. We’ve been very, very lucky to have more competition.”