- Dennis Domrzalski
- Reporter- Albuquerque Business First
It will be nearly impossible for New Mexico to set up a full-blown health insurance exchange by Oct. 1 as required by federal law, the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange board was told Monday.
Instead, the board should look at getting the full exchange operational by January 2015 and should concentrate on outreach and educational programs for the uninsured, the board was told.
That word came from Jon Kingsdale, who set up the health insurance exchange for the state of Massachusetts in the mid-2000s.
“It doesn’t seem to me that there is any possibility that you can do it by Oct. 1, 2013,” Kingsdale told the 13-member board. “If you start now you have a decent chance of making it by Jan. 1, 2015. You don’t have an executive director. You should be doing systems checking in August, and that typically takes two to four months. I don’t see how it is in the realm of possibility.”
Kingsdale said it took Massachusetts five to six years to develop software to determine the eligibility of people in the state for insurance subsidies and to enroll them in insurance plans. Then it took 14 months of work to get the exchange operational, he added.
New Mexico’s Health Insurance Exchange board held its first meeting Monday.
In addition, many of the vendors in the insurance exchange space have put out notice that they will not be taking on new state clients at the end of the year, Kingsdale added.
The first meeting of the insurance exchange board made it clear what difficulties lay ahead for New Mexico in developing its exchange. Marjorie Petty, regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suggested that the state’s Medicaid program could enroll individuals if the exchange isn’t running on time.