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Insurers denied details on poor

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The Associated Press

SANTA FE — The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange is refusing to give commercial insurance companies personal information from thousands of the state’s poor residents.

Health exchange lawyers recently decided that names, home addresses and phone numbers were proprietary and have denied requests from insurance companies seeking to obtain the information, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
Insurance companies sought the data to sell those residents policies.

“We are not allowed to share that information directly with them,” Debra Hammer, spokeswoman for the exchange, said last week.

New Mexico is relying on a federally operated website to enroll individuals. Businesses can enroll through the state-run exchange, which also handles marketing and provides assistance to people seeking insurance coverage.

The policies of about 10,400 people formerly insured under the low-cost State Covered Insurance program were canceled when it was discontinued in January, and they make too much money to qualify for Medicaid.

The New Mexico Human Services Department referred them to the state’s online insurance marketplace created under the federal Affordable Care Act.

During the most recent meeting of the exchange board on Feb. 28, board member Martin Hickey lobbied for the release of contact information to the insurers.