Press release: Bingaman says health insurance reform law already benefiting New Mexicans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today said he is pleased New Mexico is able to expand its ability to provide affordable health insurance coverage for high-risk uninsured residents – one of the first benefits of the newly enacted health insurance reform law Bingaman helped write. The law will provide at least $37 million to New Mexico for the new high risk pool.

Beginning today, the New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) in cooperation with the New Mexico Medical Insurance Pool (NMMIP) will contract with the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to operate a temporary federal high-risk insurance pool program in New Mexico to assist people with a pre-existing medical condition who have been uninsured for at least six months.

“This new program will allow the state to expand services to ensure that New Mexicans who are battling an illness or who have been sick in the past can secure affordable and meaningful health insurance – not only protecting these New Mexicans’ health but also protecting their financial security in these difficult economic times,” Bingaman said.

Low income residents may also qualify for a subsidized premium. The temporary pool will expire in 2014, when the new federal law bars the denial of insurance coverage for medical reasons across all health plans in the country and also prevents insurance plans from charging premiums based on the health status of enrollees.

Bingaman also said he is pleased that New Mexicans now have a place to turn to for the most up-to-date information on the newly enacted health insurance reform law.

The White House’s newly launched HealthCare.gov — a new consumer website that provides transparency into the health care marketplace – provides New Mexicans with easy to understand, information about the health insurance coverage options available in the state.

The website includes information about consumer rights and benefits under the health insure reform law, a timeline of when new programs under the new law will come online between now and 2014 and a new insurance finder that will make it easy to find New Mexico-specific information about both private and public health insurance options.

“Purchasing health insurance can be a complex, confusing process. This new website will provide New Mexicans with up-to-date information and news specific to our state to help them make the right choices for themselves and their families when purchasing insurance. HealthCare.gov also lets people know about the benefits of the new health insurance reform bill as it begins to take effect,” Bingaman said.

Bingaman was instrumental in the writing and passing of the health insurance reform law that was enacted into law earlier this year.

Bingaman is the only Democrat on the Education, Labor and Pensions

Committee and the Finance Committee — the two Senate committees that wrote the law.