Posted 11/21/19

Enroll now for health insurance

Taos County residents and all New Mexicans have until Dec. 15 to sign up for health insurance or to change their current plan.

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Enroll now for health insurance

Taos County residents and all New Mexicans have until Dec. 15 to sign up for health insurance or to change their current plan.

This open enrollment period comes once a year as part of the federal Affordable Care Act. Health insurance obtained now will last for a year.

BeWellnm is the state marketplace where Taos County residents can compare, shop for and buy health insurance plans. The website also has information regarding health insurance subsidies or tax credits and where to get help for individual enrollment.

Congressman Ben Ray Luján issued a statement about the open health insurance enrollment, urging people to sign up as soon as possible. "Given the Census Bureau's report indicating that health care uninsured rates increased for the first time in a decade under the Trump administration, it's especially critical that we get the word out on open enrollment."

In 2018, the number of people in the United States without health insurance rose to 27.5 million, up from 25.6 million in 2017. The uninsured rate jumped from 7.9 percent in 2017 to 8.5 percent in 2018. It was the first year-to-year increase in uninsured rates since 2008 and 2009, per the census, according to a statement from Lujan's office.

For more information or to see health insurance plans, go to .

Treating concussions

Every year, millions of Americans suffer blows to the head that cause concussions. Those blows can be from car accidents, falls or related to sports activities. Recognizing the signs of concussion and getting treatment is important, according to a recent press release from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

"A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Concussions may affect normal brain function, causing someone with a head injury to lose consciousness or feel dazed.

Some of the early signs of concussion can include nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, difficulty focusing, fatigue, sensitivity to light and noise, blurry vision or ringing in the ears, mood swings and insomnia, according to information from University of New Mexico Hospital.

An immediate trip to the emergency room is wise "if you or your loved one has experienced loss of consciousness, seizure, weakness, numbness or discoordination, difficulty speaking, changes in vision or hearing, neck tenderness or limited movement of the neck, excessive drowsiness, memory loss - including memory of the concussion event - and worsening headache that won't go away," according to the medical research center's statement.

Violence Against Women Act introduced

Legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act through 2024 has been introduced in the U.S. Senate to complement a bill already passed in the House of Representatives. The bill provides additional funding and measures to protect women from sexual assaults and other forms of violence. The companion bill was introduced by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., along with Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein, D-CA., and all Democratic senators.

The bill makes additional improvements to the current law.

It protects Native American women by improving tribal access to federal crime information databases and reaffirming tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking for all federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaskan Natives, according to a statement from Udall's office.

The legislation also reauthorizes and updates the SMART Prevention Program to reduce dating violence, help children who have been exposed to violence and engage men in preventing violence.

In addition, the legislation expands grants under the Public Health Service Act to support the capacity of early childhood programs to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking among the families they serve, according to the statement from Udall's office.

The bill also expands housing protections for survivors of violence.

- Compiled by Staci Matlock


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