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State may extend insurance enrollment deadline

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — New Mexico officials frustrated with the federal healthcare.gov website are considering extending the deadline to join the state-run health insurance exchange.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange board held informal discussions Friday on whether to prolong the open enrollment period, which is scheduled to close March 15.

Board Chairman Dr. J.R. Damron says glitches in the federal system have made signing up a "dysfunctional" process.

The deadline to have health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act is April 1. Those who miss it could face tax penalties and more months of waiting for the next open enrollment period.

Officials had initially estimated 83,000 people would register this year. But they now estimate between 40,000 and 50,000 will enroll.

5th person to die from influenza reported in NM

SANTA FE (AP) - Another flu death is being reported in New Mexico.

The state Department of Health says a 69-year-old woman from Bernalillo County has become the fifth person to die from influenza so far this flu season.

All of the victims have been between the ages of 45 and 79.

Meanwhile, health officials say the number of people seeing their doctor for influenza-like illnesses has decreased over the past three weeks.

The predominant circulating flu strain in New Mexico and the United States is influenza H1N1.

The strain was first identified in 2009 and health officials say it may cause severe illness even in healthy young adults.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

State officials: 3 more die from the flu in NM

SANTA FE (AP) - State officials have confirmed three more flu deaths.
    
The New Mexico Department of Health said Thursday a 79-year-old man and a 73-year -old man, both from Bernalillo County, recently died from the illness. In addition, the department says a 45-year-old man from Rio Arriba County also died from influenza.
    
The names of the victims were not immediately released.
    
A 76 year-old Santa Fe woman who died earlier this month was the first reported flu death this season.
    
The New Mexico Department of Health is urging everyone 6 months of age and older to get a flu vaccine.
    
The vaccine is currently available and protects against H1N1 and other strains of flu.
    

HealthCare.gov onto third delay

HealthCare.gov onto third delay

The Obama administration had announced that small business will have to wait a year until they are able to enroll for health insurance through HealthCare.gov.

With online enrollment initially set to begin on October 1st, this announcement comes as the most disappointing for small businesses.

As the third delay for the Small Business Health Options Program, resources to help small businesses will now have to wait another year to get better deals for health insurance. However, small business are still able to file paper applications for coverage because the delay only applies to online enrollment.

"Many of them already are served using agents and brokers, so the particular mechanism we've outlined today is in many cases very familiar to the small business community, and is something that will work for them," said CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille.

3rd Annual Run from Malaria event to be held

3rd Annual Run from Malaria event to be held

On Saturday, November 16th, the United Methodist Church will be hosting their 3rd annual “Run or Walk from Malaria” event in efforts to reduce and eliminate victims of the disease.

Statistics show that a person dies from malaria somewhere in the world every 60 seconds even though malaria is a preventable disease.

Along with the efforts from the United Nations Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the donations and proceeds from the event will go to vaccinations for at-risk individuals.

Registration for the event is $25 a person and includes a T-Shirt. The event will begin promptly at 9am at the Albuquerque Academy and will cover approximately 5k of distance. Participants can run or walk the event.

For more information, visit http://inm5k.wordpress.com or contact Pastor Greg Henneman at 505-243-7834.

Free flu shots in Albuquerque Saturday

Free flu shots in Albuquerque Saturday

 

The New Mexico Department of Health is offering free flu shots Saturday at its Albuquerque Midtown Public Health Office.

The clinic is open to everyone from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Symptoms of the flu include an abrupt onset of fever, muscle pain, and headaches.

Health officials encourage everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine each flu season. Especially children, people over 50, Native Americans and people with chronic medical conditions.

The New Mexico Department of Health offers vaccinations for people without insurance for free. It’s suggested those with Medicaid or other health insurance should bring their insurance cards with them to the clinic to get a shot at no-charge.

Health care penalty deadline pushed back amid website problems

The finger pointing continues Thursday morning about the troubled federal health care website.

The deadline to sign up was Dec. 15, but KOB Eyewitness News 4 learned it has been pushed back.

March 31 is now the last day people can sign up for coverage to avoid a tax penalty.

There are more than 400,000 New Mexicans without coverage.

Mike Nunez with New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange said he talks to the federal government almost every day, waiting to hear an update on the federal site.

"Everybody wants it to work," Nunez said. "Everyone wants to get a feel for, what does this mean to me? How does this new law impact New Mexicans? What's it going to cost me? What opportunities do I have?"