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Wilma’s Story: This Navajo Family Got Affordable Health Coverage — and Peace of Mind

In 2014, Wilma got bad news. Her health insurance through work would no longer cover her 14-year-old son, Alexander. As a single parent of an active teen, she needed to find a solution, and fast. Days later, she saw a flyer for BeWell, New Mexico’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

Wilma called 833-862-3935 to talk with a representative. To Wilma’s surprise, since she is Navajo, she was connected with a Certified Assister who was Native American and specifically works with tribal community members in New Mexico.

With the Certified Assister’s help, Wilma found affordable insurance coverage for herself and Alexander. “It was a sense of relief knowing that I could get insurance through BeWell at a lower cost than what work was charging me,” said Wilma.

How BeWell Certified Assisters Helped Wilma

But shopping for health insurance can be daunting. Wilma said, “If it’s not easy and simple, many people are just going to say ‘forget it.’”

With a BeWell Certified Assister in your corner, finding insurance can be painless. We are here to:

“To have somebody there to walk you through the process is great,” said Wilma.

Related Reading: Miranda’s Story: How a Certified Assister Helped New Mexicans Access Quality Insurance

For Wilma, a big benefit of getting health insurance through BeWell was being able to get weekend visits to urgent care covered.

“Indian Health Service was closed on the weekends,” Wilma explained, “and it seems like that is always when Alexander was getting sick. I’m thankful for BeWell for helping me because of the many times we had to go to urgent care on the weekend.”

Health Insurance Benefits for Native Americans

Many Native Americans in New Mexico are eligible for cost-saving subsidies through BeWell. Our Certified Assisters can help you apply for the ones that you qualify for and help you understand how to maximize your savings.

Some possible subsidies for Native Americans in New Mexico include:

  • No-Cost Sharing Plans: Available for those with incomes between 100% and 300% of the Federal Poverty Level. No copays, deductibles, or co-insurance at IHS or Tribal Healthcare Centers. No need for referrals to see doctors outside of IHS.
  • Limited-Cost Sharing Plans: Available for those with incomes under 100% or over 300% of the Federal Poverty Level. No copays, deductibles, or coinsurance at IHS or Tribal Healthcare Centers. Referral required to see doctors outside of IHS.
  • New Mexico Premium Assistance: Helps eligible residents with the cost of health insurance premiums through state-sponsored programs.
  • Native American Premium Assistance: Helps members of federally recognized tribes with enhanced premium assistance, depending on income level.
  • Advanced Premium Tax Credit: Offers financial assistance to help lower monthly premium costs for individuals and families buying healthcare through BeWell.

Native Americans in New Mexico can also enroll at any time in a health insurance plan through BeWell. That means Native Americans don’t have to wait for the Open Enrollment period or a qualifying life event, such as getting married or changing jobs.

Plans purchased through BeWell compliment Indian Health Service and Tribal Health Care services in the community. When insurance pays for doctor’s visits, community clinics can use that money to take care of more people.

Wilma and Alexander carried plans through BeWell for almost a decade of their lives. Today, they’re grateful for the peace of mind their health insurance gave them throughout their life events. To any Native Americans thinking about finding additional insurance, Wilma says, “I’d like them to know they have options and that BeWell is there to help.”

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Where Do I Start?

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Before you apply for coverage, you can see the health and/or dental insurance plans available and the estimated cost you will pay plus any subsidies you may qualify for to reduce the cost.

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