New Mexico seeks to avoid coverage gap for Medicaid patients

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A federal pandemic-related requirement that states offer continuous healthcare coverage for Medicaid recipients is coming to an end, meaning nearly 980,000 people in New Mexico will have to renew coverage when their applications are due, officials said Thursday.

Officials with the state Human Services Department are urging people to renew their applications to avoid having a gap in health care coverage.

The first batch of recipients will be receiving bright turquoise envelopes in the mail in the coming days as part of the state’s awareness campaign.

The state plans to focus first on those who likely will no longer be eligible for benefits due to their income levels. State data shows that could be as many as 110,000 people. Those who are over the income limit will be referred to the state’s healthcare exchange where they can find coverage at reduced rates.

“The reason this is so important is that people have health care needs,” said Kari Armijo, acting secretary of the state Human Services Department. “If they’re transitioning off of Medicaid coverage, we don’t want them to go without health insurance. We really want to make sure we minimize any gaps in coverage so that people don’t have unmet health care needs.”

The federal government has given states 12 months to process all Medicaid renewals. New Mexico began sending out renewal packets in mid-March for those whose applications are due in April.

The state is also asking providers to help notify recipients about the renewal process with flyers, posters, emails, texts and social media posts.