Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 at 1:39p.m.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico Health Connections will soon be able to offer health plans to teachers and public retirees.
NMHC on Thursday announced that the Interagency Benefits Advisory Committee, the largest commercial purchaser of healthcare services and administration in the state, will include the insurer on the list of providers available to 80,000 people covered by the New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority, the New Mexico Retiree Healthcare Authority and Albuquerque Public Schools.
IBAC members who sign up for coverage in the 2017 enrollment period will have access to NMHC’s statewide provider network and access to a dedicated customer service call center. One group of targeted customers are pre-Medicare-eligible state retirees.
“Being awarded a contract by three of the four IBAC entities in our fourth year in business is a major accomplishment,” said CEO Dr. Martin Hickey. “We are thrilled to offer cost-effective health plan administrative and medical management services to public retirees and teachers in every school district across New Mexico beginning in January.”
He said NHMC would be happy to sign up 10 percent of those 80,000 people during the enrollment period, which will take place between October and Jan. 1, 2017. Plan designs for potential new members will be available by mid-October.
“I think we would be a better financial deal” on the premium and copay sides, said Hickey of New Mexico’s nonprofit, consumer-operated and oriented health plan, which has nearly 50,000 enrollees on its exchange, small and large group health plans.
With cost containment a big goal, this approach has struck a responsive chord with the payers NMHC is targeting, said Hickey.
He said NMHC’s members see 30 percent fewer hospitalizations than other New Mexico insurers due to “tremendous medical management.” He said the insurer also makes medication compliance and behavioral health care strong priorities.
By the end of the 2016 open enrollment period, 30,000 of NMHC members were individual policy holders, 19,000 of those through the state health exchange. During the year, the co-op had added several big-name employers on group plans, including Goodwill Industries of New Mexico, Blake’s Lotaburger, Youth Development Inc. and Heritage Hotels & Resorts.
“We have to be a fully diversified insurer to support the individual exchange” service line, said Hickey of efforts to ptich the insurer’s plan offerings to unions, small and large businesses. “We are (contract) finalists for several large companies with 250 to 500 employees,” said Hickey.
He said NMHC also is considering offering a Medicare Advantage plan in the 2018 enrollment period.
New Mexico Public Schools Insurance Authority, New Mexico Retiree Healthcare Authority, and Albuquerque Public Schools employees may visit these websites to learn more about NMHC and their health plan benefits: