ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A new report from the Commonwealth Fund has found that New Mexicans who get their health insurance through their employers have the potential for more burdensome out-of-pocket costs than workers in almost any other state in the country.
In 2017, the combination of average premiums and deductibles for workers in New Mexico totaled $6,652 annually, or the equivalent of 14.8 percent of the median income in the state. While the national average for such costs is higher at $7,240 per year, so too is the country’s median income. For the average American, the combination of premiums and deductibles is the equivalent of 12 percent of median income.
Only Louisiana at 15.5 percent and Mississippi at 15 percent have more burdensome potential costs than New Mexico, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based health care nonprofit.
David Radley, a senior scientist at the organization, said in an interview that New Mexico’s ranking is primarily a reflection of the state’s lower-than-average incomes.
“What’s interesting about New Mexico is that it’s total premium cost is pretty close to the national average,” said Radley. “Deductibles have risen a lot, but the overall cost is still a bit lower than average. But incomes in New Mexico tend to be lower than other parts of the country, and when health care becomes a larger share of what individuals and families are spending, that creates a big burden.”