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Report: Health Reform to Benefit One in Four NM Women

August 2, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Women in New Mexico have more to gain from the national new health reform law than those in almost any other state, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund. Karen Davis, president of the Fund, says 30 million women nationwide stand to benefit from the reforms, particularly in New Mexico and Texas, the two states with the highest rates of uninsured women.

Davis says that in the current system women have an especially hard time finding affordable coverage, unless they can get it through an employer or spouse.

"What we found is about three-fourths of women who try to buy health insurance on the individual market are either unable to afford the premium, or they're not eligible for the coverage."

Davis says 29 percent of women in New Mexico are uninsured, compared with a national average of 18 percent.

"There are about 175,000 uninsured women in New Mexico and at least 90 percent of those would get assistance purchasing or receiving health insurance coverage."

Even when women find insurance they are eligible for and can afford, Davis says, it may not include maternity or other important coverage.

When the federal reform law is fully implemented, she says, most uninsured women will be able to get coverage, either through programs like Medicaid or a state-based insurance exchange.

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that supported the health care reform law.

The report is available at tiny.cc/lfe8i

Eric Mack, Public News Service - NM