We’ll know next month how may people in NM signed up for Obamacare — maybe

By Rob Nikolewski on October 16, 2013
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By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog

SANTA FE – It’s a tale of two websites when it comes to the rollout of the .

The , tasked with signing up small businesses and their employees, appears to be running smoothly. But the federal site — — which handles people looking for coverage under Obamacare — is still experiencing technical problems that have kept thousands of New Mexicans from signing up, or at least from learning exactly how much health insurance will cost them should they enroll.

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: The website for the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange appears to be working smoothly but the federal site that New Mexicans must use for individual policies is still full of glitches.

In fact, it’s not known how many New Mexicans have signed up on the site since it opened Oct. 1.

“I don’t know the numbers for the feds,” told on Tuesday. “We probably won’t have numbers until mid-November or so, at least that’s what we’re told.”

Nunez said between Sept. 15 and Oct. 6, the NMIX website received 53,000 hits, and between 32,000 and 33,000 of those visitors clicked on button requesting information for individual and family health insurance coverage.

New Mexico is one of 36 states in which individual coverage is handled by the federal website, which has been mired with glitches that have kept potential customers from logging on.

“That’s my understanding,” Nuñez said. “I know we’ve tried but (customers) haven’t been able to get through.”

Some states have has been able to sign up for individual policies through the site. Industry analyst and concluded “not more than about 5,000 individuals and families signed up for health insurance” through healthcare.gov, as of Monday.

Former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs in an said the first two weeks of open enrollment for the president’s health care overhaul were “bungled badly” and called it “excruciatingly embarrassing for the White House and for the Department of Health and Human Services.”

Late last week, in an effort to alleviate the frustration of customers for individual policies in New Mexico, the NMHIX website on its homepage that allows customers to at least see what policies are offered by participating insurance companies — even though it doesn’t have the capability to sign people up.

“At least it gives people an indication of what’s out there,”Nuñez said.

Nuñez had much better news to report about the NMHIX’s ability to sign up small businesses and their employers. As of Tuesday morning, NMIX had signed up 652 employers across the state and 1,398 employees.

“Those are very good numbers,” Nuñez said. “I didn’t expect numbers like that.”

Coverage can start as early as Jan. 1, 2014, for those eligible for the small business health insurance exchange through the operated by the NMHIX.

Contact Rob Nikolewski at and follow him on Twitter @robnikolewski

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