Frequently Asked Questions for a Special Enrollment Period

You can enroll now and get coverage for 2021.  This opportunity ends May 15.

Individuals and Families

Q. What is a Special Enrollment Period?
A. The Biden Administration signed an executive order creating an additional three-month special enrollment opportunity to purchase health insurance through the Insurance Marketplace, for the first time and or change plans.  The three-month period will provide an opportunity to enroll in health insurance through beWellnm, the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange. One must not delay, take advantage and get enrolled into a health insurance plan for you and your family!

Q. When is the Special Enrollment Period? 
A. The Special Enrollment period begins on February 15, 2021 and ends on May 15, 2021.

Q. How do I enroll?
A. It is easy!  New Mexicans can enroll in the Marketplace by visiting and scheduling a free-virtual appointment with a certified enrollment counselor, navigator, agent, broker or "assister" to find the right plan to enroll for 2021 coverage for yourself and your family.  If you are a small business owner and don't offer coverage today, your employees can also apply for coverage. 

Q. When does my coverage begin?
A. If you enroll during the special open enrollment period beginning February 15, 2021 and ending May 15, 2021, your coverage will begin the first of the month after the selection of the plan.  For example, if you select a plan on February 20, 2021, your effective date of coverage will be March 1, 2021.

Q. What insurance companies are participating in the 2021 Marketplace? 
A. BeWellnm is the Marketplace that provides health insurance plans for eligible New Mexicans. Five health insurance companies are participating in the 2021 Marketplace and offer coverage in every county throughout the state:
  • Ambetter from Western Sky Community
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico
  • Friday Health Plans
  • Molina Health Care of New Mexico
  • True Health New Mexico
Q. What if I miss the Special Enrollment Period?
A. If you miss the May 15, 2021 deadline for the special open enrollment period, the traditional open enrollment period will not be available to you until the fall. Our recommendation is that you do not delay and enroll now.  If you wait until the fall, your coverage does not begin until January 1, 2022.  The assistance is completely free.

Q. Are there still subsidies available?
A. YES! BeWellnm is the only place in the state wher you can recieve subsidies.  Subsidies are applied to the the cost of monthly premiums and reduce your premium amount.  In some cases, you may qualify for cost sharing reductions (CSR)'s that reduce the cost to you such as deductibles and copays.  Both are still available to those New Mexicans who qualify. There are over 56,000 uninsured New Mexicans that qualify for significant premium reductions.  Are you one of them?  Having the security of health insurance coverage may be more affordable than you think.  BeWellnm is the only place where you can get financial assistance to provide you with low-cost or no-cost insurance, and free local help to explore your options.  You could be covered by March 1, so sign up now.

Q. Is it true that rates for New Mexico are the lowest this year?
A. Yes, the New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance Russell Toal announced that health insurance premiums decreased significantly for individuals and families purchasing their own coverage through beWellnm (New Mexico’s Health Insurance Exchange).  Average plan prices dropped in the Bronze, Silver, and Gold plan categories across the state.  Silver plans, the most common plan purchased on the individual Exchange, decreased between 8.1 and 13.5 percent on average.

Q. What if I don’t sign up during the Special Enrollment period?
A. If you miss this opportunity during this special enrollment period and don’t qualify to enroll with specific circumstance, Medicaid, CHIP or employer-based coverage, it may be that you have no option other than to wait until the next traditional open enrollment period between November 1, 2021 and December 15, 2021.  You can always ask an expert if you’re not sure.  Our recommendation is that consumers do not delay and enroll now.

Q. What would be my effective date of coverage?
A. If you enroll during this special open enrollment and pay your premium, your coverage will generally begin on the first day of the next month.

Q. I enrolled through an insurance broker last year, do I need to use that broker again this year?
A: You’re not required to use a certified broker or even the same broker as you did last year. In fact, you’re not required to use a broker at all.  However, a certified broker does provide value in helping you navigate your options all year around.  The brokers service is free to you and provides one-on-one guidance regarding questions you may have about health insurance coverage and what providers accept it.  Most importantly they can help you find out if you qualify for subsidies and tax credits that can make your health insurance premium more affordable!

Q. I like my Marketplace plan just the way it is.  Do I need to do anything during this Special Enrollment Period?
A. If you like your current plan, you don’t need to take any action.

Q. What if I don’t like my current Marketplace plan, can I make a change?
A. Yes, this special enrollment opportunity will allow you to select a new plan for 2021 that might better fit your needs and your budget.

Q. I’m eligible for health benefits at work.  Can I get a better deal on the beWellnm?
A. You can always shop for coverage (assuming you meet other basic eligibility requirements), but if you have access to job-based coverage, you likely will not qualify for premium tax credits. You may only qualify for premium tax credits if the premium for your employer-sponsored coverage is more than 9.66% of your yearly household adjusted gross income, or if the plan does not meet minimum essential coverage standards. If you want to learn more about this, we recommend talking to an expert.

Q. If I have not filed taxes in a prior year, how will the Marketplace determine my income?
A. If an applicant did not file taxes in a prior year, income will be verified by the Marketplace through use of electronic wage data. If the information cannot be verified electronically, the applicant may be asked to submit additional documentation - such as pay stubs, a work contract or other verification of income - within 90 days.


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