Day 26 – Medicaid at 50: State Highlight: New Mexico

Basics: Centennial Care covers 700,777

In New Mexico, Medicaid is called Centennial Care, and I need to give them a shout-out for their website. It’s modern, easy to read, in English/Spanish, has links to other social services people may want to know about, and has lots of contact information. The portal where you can apply online is called Yes New Mexico! Does this all seem obvious? Readers, it is not. There is more than one Medicaid landing page out there that reminds me of the website I created in AP Environmental Science when we were still talking about being in “the new millennium”.

We tend to think about access and patient satisfaction in terms of the actual delivery of care (think CAHPS), but these issues matter when people go to sign up for coverage. For all the infamy of healthcare.gov, the proliferation of online portals for insurance enrollment has been transformative. Until very recently, the bureaucracy of signing up for Medicaid in person could require distant appointment times, long waits in an office, and possibly multiple trips. Customer experience was not necessarily a key priority. This could wear on anyone, not to mention if transportation, mobility, or taking days off of work presented a challenge – it was enough to discourage some people from getting through the enrollment process. The ability to sign up at home, or with a trusted helper is a really big deal. Considering that awareness of the benefits one is eligible for is a big barrier to enrollment, it’s exciting to see a state striving to be welcoming and accessible.

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