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Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration will limit enrollment in a rapidly growing program that offers taxpayer-subsidized health insurance for low-income adults.
The Human Services Department estimates it could save $16 million a year in state money to help with a looming budget shortfall if the cost-cutting measure keeps 10,000 people from joining the program.
Enrollment has increased by 1,000 to almost 3,000 people monthly during the past year as the economy slumped.
The department announced Thursday it will stop enrolling individuals in the State Coverage Insurance program early next month. Individual applicants will be placed on a waiting list and may receive coverage if an available slot opens.
Uninsured New Mexico workers can continue to enroll if they are part of an employer-sponsored group.
“The waiting list is an effort to keep this very important program up and running to serve as many New Mexicans as the department can fund,” said Human Services Secretary Pam Hyde.
About 45,000 New Mexicans get insurance through the program, and a third of those are part of groups in which the employer pays a share of the premiums along with the employee. The state and federal government pick up the rest of the cost.
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