SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico physicians today applauded Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and state legislators for passing a law that can expand health care and provide coverage to nearly 100,000 New Mexicans. House Bill 95, known as the Easy Enrollment Act, creates a checkbox on the state income tax form that an uninsured person can mark so that New Mexico’s health care exchange can assess whether they qualify for free or low-cost coverage and then connect them to those plans and programs.
“The Easy Enrollment Act is a simple yet life-changing and life-saving policy for our patients,” said Dr. Heather Applewhite, an Albuquerque family medicine physician. “Making it easier for eligible New Mexicans to get connected with health care will save lives across our state, particularly in communities that have faced hurdles to getting health care, including Indigenous populations, young New Mexicans, and those with language barriers. By ensuring people know they qualify for Medicaid and plans on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, the Easy Enrollment Act will help New Mexicans access preventive care that reduces illness and suffering down the line, lowers their overall health care costs, and makes our state healthier and stronger.”
Under HB 95, New Mexico’s health care exchange will reach out to individuals who check the easy enrollment option on their income tax form and outline their eligibility. A taxpayer who is assessed to be eligible for Medicaid will be referred to New Mexico’s Human Services Department. If the individual is eligible for low-cost and subsidized plans under Marketplace coverage, the health care exchange will connect with them to outline discount options. The tax filer will have a special enrollment period of several weeks to review their coverage options and enroll in the plan that is right for them.
“Physicians see every day how access to health care, or lack thereof, impacts people’s health, well-being, and ability to work and care for their families,” said Dr. Aaron Snyder, an Albuquerque emergency medicine physician. “When patients can afford the health care they need, we’re able to diagnose and treat health conditions earlier. Earlier is often easier and less expensive to treat. Early treatment allows people to continue living fulfilling lives and give back to their communities. Simplifying the process for qualifying New Mexicans to access health care and take care of themselves is a huge step forward for my patients and our whole state, and we applaud our lawmakers and Gov. Lujan Grisham for taking this step.”
New Mexico will be the second state to implement an easy enrollment plan. Maryland passed easy enrollment in 2019 and began phased implementation in 2021.
About the Committee to Protect Health Care
The Committee to Protect Health Care is a national mobilization of doctors, health care professionals, and advocates who are building a pro-patient health care majority in Congress and in states so that we can live in an America where everyone has the health care they need to thrive. To learn more: www.committeetoprotect.org