Gov. health care access bill wins final approval
House Bill 100 increases access to high-quality health care
SANTA FE – House Bill 100, increasing access to and affordability of health insurance for New Mexico families, passed the Senate floor with a vote of 28-14 yesterday and the House concurred today. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued the following statement:
“Access to high-quality and affordable health care is a non-negotiable priority of my administration. Passage of House Bill 100 will provide healthcare coverage for more New Mexicans by giving New Mexico’s health insurance exchange the tools it needs to ensure that New Mexicans have lower upfront out-of-pocket costs so they can go to the doctor when they’re sick.”
House Bill 100, co-sponsored by Rep. Debbie Armstrong and Rep. Micaela Cadena, empowers BeWellNM, the New Mexico health insurance exchange to operate as a fully-state based exchange meeting the needs of families seeking coverage in New Mexico and promoting access to more affordable, higher-quality insurance plans.
Under the federal Affordable Care Act, New Mexico has seen a decrease of uninsured residents through the expansion of Medicaid and the creation of the state-based health insurance exchange. BeWellNM serves New Mexicans who do not have insurance through employment and are ineligible for Medicare or Medicaid.
The state exchange serves around 45,000 New Mexicans. But recent data shows that another 43,000 New Mexicans eligible for financial assistance to purchase BeWellNM plans remain uninsured. “Cost remains a barrier for far too many New Mexicans,” the governor said.
House Bill 100 codifies Affordable Care Act requirements for state-based health insurance exchanges and authorizes beWellNM to continue moving toward becoming a fully state-based exchange. The legislation empowers the exchange to, among other items:
- Establish standardized plans, which help limit out-of-pocket costs for services like primary care and behavioral health;
- Establish third-party payment programs for cities, counties and tribal governments, among other entities, to pay premiums and cost-sharing on behalf of qualified individuals;
- Provide for a regular enrollment period as well as special enrollment periods beyond current federal timeframes;
- Better integrate with Medicaid and other programs upon enrollment.