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The CEO of New Mexico’s health insurance exchange has stepped down.
BeWellnm spokesman James Korenchen said Jeffery Bustamante, who had served as CEO since 2019, resigned from his post on Monday. It is unclear why Bustamante resigned.
Bustamante was appointed as interim CEO in March 2019 and was later confirmed as CEO in November of the same year. He will stay on through the transition to the new CEO, who has yet to be named.
“The beWellnm Board of Directors is currently exploring options for interim management,” Korenchen said. “This transition is to ensure the organization is prepared for excellence with the upcoming public health emergency end imminent.”
The federal government may soon end the public health emergency that aided states with additional money for Medicaid relief. If that emergency is terminated it would affect about 85,000 residents in New Mexico, according to earlier reports.
Bustamante replaced Cheryl Gardner, who had previously served as CEO for the organization since 2017. The board at the time had opted not to extend her two-year contract, according to previous Journal reporting, which led to Bustamante’s appointment.
Bustamante had previously served as the director of policy and research for beWellnm.
The state’s exchange has had five leaders since its inception in 2013. Mike Nunez had served as interim CEO until 2014, before being replaced by Amy Dowd, who was previously the director for Idaho’s exchange.
Dowd left in 2016 for Molina Healthcare, however, and was replaced by Linda Weeden, beWellnm’s former director of communications and outreach. Weeden was then replaced by Gardner in 2017.
More than 45,000 applied for health insurance during open enrollment which spanned from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15, according to a report from beWellnm.
The health exchange was created in 2013 through state legislation to offer health insurance to New Mexico residents not covered by Medicare/Medicaid or through affordable plans in their places of work, according to the organization’s website.