Higher Surcharge on Medicare Among New Mexico Laws

SANTA FE, NM – With the arrival of the new year, new laws are coming into effect in New Mexico that seek to strengthen access to health insurance and eliminate many court fines against minors who are considered to be counterproductive.

A bill approved by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the state’s Democratic-led legislature adds a 2.75% surtax on health insurance premiums – upfront payments made on behalf of an individual or d ‘a family to keep the insurance active – from January 1, 2022. The current surcharge is set at 1% of premiums.

Much of the tax increase will be used to purchase health insurance offers for low- and moderate-income people, as well as for employees of small businesses, starting in 2023.

Insurance Superintendent Russell Toal said the surcharge would be a crucial subsidy when Medicaid coverage under special federal pandemic provisions expires for about 85,000 residents. Many patients who quit Medicaid are likely to seek policies from the state’s insurance stock exchange.

On the other hand, New Mexico is eliminating many fines and fees in the juvenile justice system that are viewed as potentially dangerous and costly to administer.

Under the legislation of Democratic State Officials Roger Montoya de Velarde and Albuquerque’s Gail Chasey, the state will no longer charge a $ 10 application fee for the assignment of a public defender in delinquency cases . The new law also eliminates fines for underage possession of marijuana and limits community service obligations to 48 hours for minors caught with weed.

In late June, New Mexico legalized non-medical cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older and permitted the retail sale of recreational marijuana by April 1, 2022.

On the new state surtax, several lawmakers – Republicans and Democrats – feared that an increase in policy taxes could be passed on to businesses and consumers by health insurance companies. Insurance officials say nearly 90% of the tax increase will fall on managed care organizations that provide Medicaid insurance.

State officials also hope to use some of the new tax products to attract more federal matching funds for local Medicaid providers.

Toal says it’s still up to the legislature in 2022 to approve spending that lowers the costs of the state health insurance stock market and helps small businesses. Lawmakers meet on Jan. 18 for a 30-day session that focuses primarily on budget matters.

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