Participation in the New Mexico State Coverage Insurance (SCI) Program: Lessons from Enrollees
In this issue brief released by the State Health Access Reform Evaluation (SHARE), researchers evaluate New Mexico’s State Coverage Insurance (SCI) program, a public/private partnership that provides access to subsidized health insurance for adults living below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. In particular, the program targets small business owners in New Mexico who may sponsor group enrollment in SCI for their employees.
The authors conducted a survey of SCI enrollees to ask about their employment, employer, prior health insurance coverage, SCI application process, SCI’s affordability, and more. They found that SCI is helping uninsured state residents with low incomes obtain health insurance, and that most of the employed SCI enrollees did not have health insurance in the year prior to enrolling.
With its premium subsidies and public/private collaboration, the authors concluded that SCI may serve as an example of what to expect under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which aims to encourage small business to offer health insurance through tax cuts and exchange participation. Although they noted that additional variables will come into play once the ACA takes full effect, SCI is one of the few current examples of public/private initiatives to be examined in a post-reform environment. These findings highlight the importance of financial subsidies and size for small businesses and should be considered as ACA implementation moves forward.