ALBUQUERQUE, NM--(Marketwired - December 09, 2013) - New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX) announced the official launch of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) site. New Mexico was one of 19 states that opted to design and develop the small business-focused site on its own, in lieu of leveraging the government version. Employers and employees can now perform all functions required to select a plan and get coverage, making New Mexico one of few states with all key components live and functional.
While a preliminary version of the New Mexico SHOP site launched on October 1 to allow small businesses owners to select a benefit plan to offer their employees, the official launch offers new features and tools to simplify and streamline the research and enrollment process for all users.
Features include the connections of carriers' systems to process enrollment information, as well as a full suite of financial management tools that employers can leverage to help them budget and electronically contribute to employee health insurance costs.
"We are extremely proud of the finished product we created for New Mexicans, as it will make the health insurance research and enrollment process easier for both business owners and their employees," said Mike Nuñez, interim CEO. "Employers can set up their company information and pay for the plans, while employees can now choose from a variety of Qualifying Health Plans. In a state with so many small businesses, we knew it was important to offer a program that would allow employers to be able to offer healthcare coverage to their employees."
Agents will also benefit from the site, having a dedicated portal with enrollment tools to help employers and carriers get information on employees that enrolled through the Exchange. Agents and employers can access the New Mexico SHOP site through BeWellNM.com.
Now that the SHOP site is fully functional, the NMHIX team will continue to look for ways to improve on the SHOP site and begin building the Individual State Exchange.
"We've learned a lot through the process of building the SHOP site in a matter of 6 months," said Nunez. "Now we look forward to building an Individual Exchange to serve New Mexicans for the 2014 open enrollment."
NMHIX partnered with Silicon Valley-based technology company GetInsured to build both its SHOP site and the Individual Exchange. "We attribute the success of New Mexico's SHOP to the SaaS-based technology approach they used and to rolling out the project in stages after the functionality was fully tested. NMHIX is a role model for all state small business health insurance exchanges," said Nunez.
The SHOP sites were required as part of the Small Business Health Options Program, under the Affordable Care Act. The sites allows small businesses to offer either a single plan to all of their workers or select a benefit level and allow employees to choose among several plans offered at that level. Last week, the Obama administration delayed the launch of the federal government Small Business Health Options Program website, saying it needs more time to improve the site. The New Mexico SHOP enrollment is year round.
About New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange
NMHIX was created to help individuals and small businesses get access to affordable health insurance plans. NMHIX will also help consumers compare health insurance plans, learn about premium assistance that is available, and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget.