Midnight Monday is the deadline to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. Over the weekend in New Mexico people lined up to get covered, either through the insurance marketplace or Medicaid.
From those in their 60s to young people under 26 covered under their parents’ plan, hundreds stood in the bright spring sunshine sign up under Medicaid, or with one of four insurance plans.
States aiming to run their own health insurance exchanges, will be in need of federal grants to get those exchanges launched, and are facing a deadline today. New Mexico's application is in, but there's still a question of whether or not the exchange will be run by the state, federal government, or both.
New Mexico's federal grant request totals about $20-million dollars, and will be used for marketing, public relations, and outreach. With much of the states population living in rural areas, that outreach will be critical to the exchanges survival.
Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Health Care Act is expected to bring in much needed dollars to the chronically underfunded Indian Health Service or IHS. But tribal health experts say the main game changer in Indian country will be new health insurance exchanges. For the first time ever, the IHS, a system traditionally open only to Native Americans, will be competing for non-Indian patients in order to survive. KUNM’s Tristan Ahtone reports.