New Mexico Health Connections lands marquee Albuquerque businesses
Feb 22, 2016, 2:42pm MST
Sal Christ, Reporter, Albuquerque Business First
New Mexico Health Connections isn’t the new sheriff in town when it comes to health insurance, but it’s fast gaining on other insurers — not only in the numbers, but also the marquee client names it’s landing in small and group insurance.
As of this month, the organization now counts Youth Development Inc. (YDI), Goodwill Industries of New Mexico, Blake’s Lotaburger, Heritage Hotels & Resorts and several other big names in the Albuquerque business community as small and large group customers. Completed earlier this month, the contract with YDI alone adds at least 500 members to the co-op’s growing enrollment base, which has skyrocketed from 9,412 as of June 30, 2014 to more than 50,000 people as of this month — according to Patty Padon, senior director of sales and account services for NMHC.
Padon said that while the total number of members is still being counted, it includes 1,300 small and large group employers, which account for some 30 percent of the insurer’s total membership count — or 15,000 people. NMHC estimates that it owns 40 percent of the New Mexico marketplace for small group health insurance. NMHC CEO Martin Hickey said that the move toward serving large group employers only “supports the organization’s desire to provide high quality, affordable health coverage options for New Mexicans.”
“The reception has been very positive statewide, which tells us that there is a great need for what we have to offer. Our medical management model is very appealing to large employer groups because we focus on keeping employees as healthy as possible, which improves productivity. We’re delighted to welcome YDI as our newest large group,” he said.
To put NMHC’s enrollment numbers into perspective, the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange enrolled about 55,000 people in health insurance during the last open enrollment period. While not all of those people are NMHC members, a substantial chunk of them are.
The co-op’s enrollment growth supports its chances of succeeding in the long-term. Hickey told Business First last October that the organization was on solid financial ground despite the fact that many other health care co-ops around the country have failed since being launched under the Affordable Care Act over the last couple of years.
Of the 24 co-op health plans established nationally, only 11 remain operational. Late last year, several announced they would close after 2015, including those in Colorado, New York, Kentucky and Utah.