The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange will give potential applicants an extra month to pay for their January coverage as the organization faces some issues in its efforts to deploy its own platform, officials said.
BeWellnm is the state’s official health insurance exchange and makes health care plans available to New Mexicans who don’t get insurance through an employer, Medicare, or Medicaid. In the past, the exchange used the federal enrollment platform, Healthcare.gov, but in the fall it started moving to its own state-run platform.
BeWellnm CEO Jeffery Bustamante said on Wednesday that payments for January – previously due Friday – will now be due on January 31. The BeWellnm website will be updated this week to reflect the change.
Bustamante said the extension is in recognition of the problems some people are having navigating the new website, long waits for help over the phone, and other issues.
“We are moving forward,” Bustamante said. “The transition has had notable successes. … (But) some people have more difficult times than others.
A Journal reader who called Wednesday to share his experience is one such person.
He said he signed up for the exchange using a broker, but had trouble setting up the online account he needed to make a payment.
He said he had tried calling the beWellnm helpline for several days without succeeding.
“My broker said he has set up insurance for me starting in January, but I cannot confirm that because I cannot create my account,” the reader said.
BeWellnm has the option for New Mexicans to come to their Albuquerque offices in person for help with registration, but the reader said he didn’t due to issues with registration. mobility.
Bustamante said that while many New Mexicans have been able to sign up quickly and easily through www.bewellnm.com, the Journal’s reader is not the only one with problems.
Bustamante said people who have had difficulty setting up an account are likely facing an issue transitioning from the federal site to the local site, not a website-wide technology issue. He said there may be multiple drivers behind these cases, and a team is working to resolve the issue.
The high call volume described by the reader was a problem, Bustamante confirmed.
“One of the good news is that many New Mexicans are interested (in enrolling in health care),” Bustamante said. “… This has driven up our call volumes. “
Bustamante said beWellnm is devoting more resources to the call center in an attempt to reduce wait and callback times. He also said the time of day plays a role.
“We see a lot of volume in the morning and at noon,” he said.
The Journal reader said he found a notice on beWellnm’s website that would allow him to send an email in order to make a payment and submit a form to request an adjustment to be covered in January. He sent it in – including a signup request for recurring payments – and said he only hoped he got it right.
“I have no idea whether I followed their instructions correctly or not,” he said. “… I bet a lot of people (are) in the same situation as me.” “
Bustamante said that the email option has been added to help people process their payments and that beWellnm’s billing team is monitoring this account in real time to make sure people in the reader situation are not left without cover.
“We want to make sure New Mexicans know we’re in their corner,” Bustamante said.
Get help with open registration
Registration opened via beWellnm.com ends on January 15 and Friday for the effective date of January 1. Resources for navigating the registration include:
- Hotline: Call 1-833-862-3935 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturday.
- Online: Visit beWellnm.com to make a virtual appointment with a certified Enrollment Agent, Broker or Advisor, or click the orange “Contact Us” button to send a detailed email about enrollment issues .
- Pass by: BeWellnm does not schedule appointments due to the pandemic, but does allow walk-in visits to its Albuquerque office, 7601 Jefferson NE, for those who have exhausted other options.