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NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

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U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

NM aims to reduce out-of-pocket health-care costs for consumers

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Tuesday, April 23, 2024   

New Mexico saw record enrollment numbers for the Affordable Care Act this year and is now setting its sights on lowering out-of-pocket costs - those not reimbursed by insurance. More than 56,000 New Mexicans are enrolled in a medical health insurance plan on the state exchange - an increase of 12,000 people overall.

Colin Baillio, deputy superintendent with the state's Office of Insurance, said the state has boosted its outreach and made efforts to improve the overall consumer experience.

"We saw a 40% year-over-year increase, and New Mexico saw the biggest percentage increase during the open-enrollment period among all of the state-based marketplaces," he explained

Part of the enrollment increase is due to what's called the "unwinding" - a federal directive that required all states to redetermine Medicaid eligibility following a three-year pause on checks during the COVID pandemic. He said by using expanded tools made available by the federal and state government, 8% of New Mexico's population is now uninsured - down from 23% in 2010.

Following approval by lawmakers in the 2024 legislative session, the New Mexico governor signed seven health care-related bills into law - one of which requires annual reporting of prescription drug pricing. Baililo said the Affordable Care Act built the foundation that has allowed the state to pursue additional affordability initiatives.

"I'm really glad to see that there's so much interest in the next step of health reform, really leaning into these out-of-pocket cost issues and making it easier for people to afford to stay covered and see their doctors," he continued.

Two years ago, the state also passed a one-of-a-kind law that did away with behavioral health co-pays for people in certain insurance plans.


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