SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham Thursday signed into regulation Senate Invoice 317, establishing the Well being Care Affordability Fund, which is devoted to decreasing the price of medical insurance and medical bills for working households.
The invoice additionally prohibits copays and different value sharing for folks with insurance coverage who search behavioral well being companies.
“The pandemic has highlighted the devastating financial impression of out-of-pocket medical payments that may result in medical debt, chapter and poor credit score for the uninsured. This laws is a crucial first step in serving to 23,000 uninsured New Mexicans acquire entry to reasonably priced medical insurance,” Gov. Lujan Grisham stated. “We are able to make an actual, significant distinction by decreasing the prices for these with insurance coverage who search assist by eliminating the copays for behavioral well being companies – and I’m so proud and grateful to signal this precedence measure.”
Senate Invoice 317, sponsored by Sen. Martin Hickey and Sen. Jeff Steinborn, provides new sections to the Well being Care Buying Act and to the Insurance coverage Code to ban the imposition of cost-sharing by well being insurers on behavioral well being companies lined by a person or group medical insurance coverage, well being care plan, or certificates of medical insurance.
Rep. Deborah Armstrong amended Senate Invoice 317 to incorporate the Well being Care Affordability Fund. The Well being Care Affordability Fund will likely be financed by changing a not too long ago phased-out federal price on insurance coverage corporations with a state model by updating New Mexico’s current surtax on insurance coverage corporations from 1 % to three.75 %. The fund will generate about $165 million in new income yearly. These are charges that insurance coverage corporations paid the federal authorities for a few years.
Amassing this income on the state degree provides New Mexico the chance to put money into healthcare affordability initiatives, comparable to decreasing premiums and out-of-pocket prices for lower-and middle-income New Mexicans who buy protection on New Mexico’s Well being Insurance coverage Alternate, small companies who’re scuffling with well being care prices, and uninsured New Mexicans who don’t qualify for federal help on the Alternate.
In response to findings from the City Institute, as much as 23,000 uninsured New Mexicans might acquire reasonably priced well being protection if New Mexico invests in decreasing premiums and out-of-pocket prices within the Well being Insurance coverage Alternate. Those self same investments in decreasing premiums and out-pocket prices might additionally assist enhance affordability for an extra 71,000 extra New Mexicans already buying well being protection within the particular person market. Small companies and their staff will profit from the Alternate program and the small enterprise premium discount program. Elevated uptake of medical insurance is related to higher entry to care, a more healthy and extra economically safe workforce, and improved well being outcomes.
“With this invoice’s signage into regulation, greater than 23,000 uninsured New Mexicans will now acquire entry to the reasonably priced well being care that all of us deserve, and hundreds of these already insured will see their premiums and deductibles go down,” Rep. Armstrong stated. “By closing the protection hole of those that don’t qualify for Medicaid however can’t afford non-public insurance coverage, tens of hundreds of New Mexicans will not have to decide on between seeing a physician and placing meals on the desk. Not solely is offering high quality well being care to all New Mexicans the best factor to do, however it decreases prices for everybody, improves public well being, and strengthens all of our communities.”
“Psychological well being points and substance use issues plague our state,” Sen. Hickey stated. “With this regulation in place, monetary limitations will not get in the best way of therapy, giving extra folks entry to the care they want. This can be a huge deal for sufferers, and can in the end decrease the prices of healthcare and incentivize the enlargement of companies as sufferers search out and stay in remedy with out these monetary limitations in place.”
“With the passage of this regulation I’m excited to see New Mexicans get elevated entry to reasonably priced well being care,” Sen. Steinborn stated. “Given the challenges that now we have confronted throughout this pandemic it’s by no means been extra necessary to give attention to our psychological and bodily well being. This new regulation will take away costly value limitations to New Mexicans acquiring skilled psychological well being care and medicines that enhance their life.”