- Associated Press - Friday, July 11, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico’s health insurance exchange has selected an Idaho official to run the online marketplace as it prepares for the next round of enrollment.

The exchange’s board of directors voted Friday to hire Amy Dowd as its chief executive officer. She’s been executive director of Idaho’s insurance exchange since last year.

The board is finalizing a contract with Dowd and it is uncertain when she will start.

Interim CEO Mike Nunez has been running New Mexico’s exchange since it was created last year. He receives an annual salary of $185,000.

During the first round of enrollment that ended in March, New Mexico used a federally operated exchange for individuals and a state-run computer system for small businesses.

New Mexico hopes to switch to the state-run exchange to enroll individuals this fall, but questions remain whether the state system will be ready.

Despite problems with the federal exchange, nearly 35,000 New Mexicans signed up for insurance plans offered by private insurers through the online marketplace, according to figures through mid-April from the state insurance superintendent’s office. In addition to that, about 17,000 individuals signed up for coverage off the exchange, such as dealing directly with insurers and their brokers.

Idaho took a similar approach to New Mexico in launching its exchange by relying on the federal online system for handling eligibility and enrollment until a state-based system was ready.

Before Nunez was selected to temporarily run the exchange, he served as executive director of the New Mexico Health Insurance Alliance, a nonprofit public corporation established by the state in 1994 to provide access to insurance for small businesses and some individuals.

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