The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX) reported that 11,620 New Mexicans had enrolled in individual qualified health plans as of January 31, 2014, a 51 percent increase from the 7,880 enrollments confirmed at the end of December 2013. This growth rate mirrors the national rate, which was 53 percent for the same time span.
Positive news includes the fact that the enrollment pool is trending younger, with residents ages 18-34, called “Young Invincibles,” now accounting for 20 percent of the total enrolled, up from 18 percent in December. The selection of plan level also witnessed an upswing over the month, with the Silver Plan being the most common selected.
Medicaid eligible numbers were also up with 17,439 in January, in comparison to 12,327 in December 2013. There are also several thousand New Mexicans waiting in the pipeline to finalize their eligibility determination and get enrolled in the Exchange.
“We remain encouraged by the overall increase in enrollment, higher metal-level plans being selected and number of Young Invincibles we are reaching with our new advertising campaign,” said Mike Nuñez, interim CEO. “We plan to continue and build upon this momentum with the launch of our new campaign targeting Young Invincibles at three college campuses on February 13.
Nuñez also notes that since the campaign’s general advertising including direct response television spots were launched in late January, NMHIX has recorded positive results from it in terms of increased website traffic and call center volume. “We look forward to seeing what effect our education and outreach efforts will have on overall enrollment numbers at the end of February. Early results seem promising as we are seeing many New Mexicans looking into their options for affordable health insurance.” he said.
NMHIX made the decision to re-tool its advertising efforts in January. During the launch of its retooled advertisements during the first week of February (Feb. 2-9, 2014) the average calls per day at the bilingual call center (1-855-99-NMHIX) increased by 33 percent from January (220 vs. 147). Web traffic during this time saw a 20 percent increase.
The introduction of the Young Invincible campaign is not the only new approach NMHIX is taking to help educate residents and drive enrollment. From robocalls and door-to-door outreach efforts to guerilla marketing and community events, NMHIX is utilizing a variety of new approaches to connect with residents of all ages and demographics, including reaching those most likely to receive federal subsidies for premiums on the Exchange.
Additionally, the team continues to connect with community groups and enlist additional brokers, agents and health care guides in an effort to gear-up and increase capacity for enrollments as the first open enrollment deadline ofMarch 31, 2014 nears.
“We have a challenge ahead of us, but the overwhelming number of positive stories are keeping our efforts energized,” said Debra Hammer, Chief Communications Officer. “From stories of New Mexican families who are saving thousands of dollars a year in premiums or individuals who were able to qualify for a health insurance plan that they never would have been eligible for in the past, we know that the Exchange is changing the lives of New Mexicans for the better and we will continue to work to help them find quality, affordability plans.”