Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia and the Consulate General of Mexico in Atlanta announced last week that the Mexican matricula consular will be accepted as an identification for applications for Blue Cross individual health insurance.

The matricula consular is an official identification that the consulate general provides to Mexican citizens residing in the United States. Mexicans will be able to learn more about the new policy at a health fair to be held at the consulate general Oct. 4-8.

State Rep. Pat Gardner, D-Atlanta, told GlobalAtlanta that she contacted Blue Shield Blue Cross once she learned from Remedios Gomez-Arnau, Mexico’s consul general in Atlanta, that WellPoint Health Networks Inc. had accepted the matricula consular in California. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia is a subsidiary of WellPoint.

“These people are working legitimately in our country,” Ms. Gardner, a former Spanish teacher, said. “And they have money to pay for their premiums. Of course, the devil is in the details. But this is a step in the right direction and I hope that the insurance will be affordable.”

According to Blue Cross Blue Shield spokesman Charlie Harman, once Blue Cross Blue Shield was approached it immediately began to discuss the possibility of accepting the matricula consular.

“There were several reasons that we were interested,” he told GlobalAtlanta. “First, it was the right thing to do to help these people have an identification card that is recognized. We also wanted to smooth the challenges faced by physicians and hospitals.”

Mr. Harman explained that the medical providers often assume the costs of providing services to the uninsured. These costs, he added, have been passed along to commercial payers.

“The Consulate General has a fundamental goal to support the Mexican community who may be using traditional health service,” Ms. Gomez-Arnau said in a statement. “This is why the agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia becomes one of the fundamental pillars for extending in a mutually beneficial manner, a private sector service that until now has only been available to persons with a Social Security number or differing proof of residence.”

To learn more about the new policy, call Mr. Harman at (404) 842-8980 or send an e-mail to or Jesus Diaz, press attache at the Mexican consulate general, at (404) 636-6232l, ext. 222, or send an e-mail to

Ms. Gardner may be reached by calling (404) 634-6272, ext. 203, or send an e-mail to