To the Editor:

Staying healthy is on top of everyone’s mind during the COVID-19 pandemic, as we watch national and local news reports on the growing number of positive cases and deaths due to the disease.

Another victim of the pandemic has been the economy. Many businesses are still furloughing employees, and many are unemployed for the foreseeable future. People now, more than ever, must have access to health care.

If you’ve been furloughed or had your job eliminated, you can qualify for health insurance even if you have a pre-existing medical condition. People who have a “life change” are entitled to a Special Enrollment under federal law, meaning they can apply for coverage and be accepted regardless of their health status. Losing a job is legally considered a “life change.” Depending on the situation, people may be eligible for either Medicaid or federal subsidies to cover much of the cost of the health insurance. The True Health New Mexico website has a wealth of information, as does the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange.

El Defensor Chieftain Editor