Higher health insurance surtax among New Mexico's new laws - Albuquerque Journal

Higher health insurance surtax among New Mexico’s new laws

SANTA FE, N.M. — With the arrival of the new year, new laws are taking effect in New Mexico that aim to bolster access to health insurance and eliminate many court fines against juveniles that are viewed as counterproductive.

One bill approved by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and the state’s Democrat-led Legislature adds a 2.75% surtax on health insurance premiums — the upfront payments made on behalf of an individual or family to keep insurance active — starting Jan. 1, 2022. The current surtax is set at 1% of premiums.

The tax increase will be used in large part to underwrite health-exchange insurance offerings for low- and moderate-income individuals, along with employees at small businesses, starting in 2023.

Insurance Superintendent Russell Toal says the surtax will provide a crucial subsidy when Medicaid coverage under special federal pandemic provisions expires for an estimated 85,000 residents. Many patients who leave Medicaid are likely to seek out policies on the state insurance exchange.

Separately, New Mexico is eliminating many fines and fees in the juvenile justice system that are viewed as potentially harmful and expensive to administer.

Under the legislation from Democratic state Reps. Roger Montoya of Velarde and Gail Chasey of Albuquerque, the state will no longer collect a $10 application fee for assignment of a public defender in delinquency cases. The new law also eliminates fines for possession of marijuana by a minor and limits community service requirements to 48 hours for minors caught with pot.

New Mexico in late June legalized nonmedical cannabis for adults 21 and older and authorized retail sales of recreational marijuana by April 1, 2022.

Regarding the state’s new surtax, several legislators — Republican and Democratic — have worried a tax increase on policies would 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 a portion of the new tax proceeds to attract more federal matching funds for local Medicaid providers.

Toal says it is still up to the Legislature in 2022 to approve spending that reduces costs at the state health insurance exchange and helps small businesses. Lawmakers convene Jan. 18 for a 30-day session that focuses primarily on budgetary matters.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Higher health insurance surtax among New Mexico’s new laws

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
Check out these 9 free and low-cost events in ...
2023 Summer Guide
No money? No problem. No money? No problem.
Couple behind Mountaintop Extracts shifted the cannabis space in ...
ABQnews Seeker
The goal, Eric Merryman said, was ... The goal, Eric Merryman said, was to create safety standards for cannabis extraction — and to offer up the highest-quality products possible for patients.
Photos: Memorial Day events and ceremonies in New Mexico
Journal North
A look at Memorial Day events ... A look at Memorial Day events in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Amid changing climate, big fires leave lasting changes to ...
ABQnews Seeker
The fire-scarred Jemez Mountains — hit ... The fire-scarred Jemez Mountains — hit repeatedly by high-severity wildfires over the last 45 years — offer a peek at how the Hermits Peak/Calf ...
New Mexico governor creates affordable housing council
ABQnews Seeker
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday ... Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday signed an executive order that created a Housing Investment Council with a mission to bring New Mexico's affordable ...
13 ways to immerse yourself in Native culture
2023 Summer Guide
New Mexico's Native presence is one ... New Mexico's Native presence is one of the first in the area. Permanent settlements were established more than a thousand years ago, represented by ...
APD charges semi-truck driver with DWI in serious crash
ABQnews Seeker
Police suspect the semi-truck driver was ... Police suspect the semi-truck driver was under the influence of drugs when he crashed into two motorcyclists, causing serious injuries.
Who are the Bandidos? What we know about the ...
ABQnews Seeker
Here's what we know about the ... Here's what we know about the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.
Museums to trains: A look at 19 family friendly ...
2023 Summer Guide
The Land of Enchantment has lots ... The Land of Enchantment has lots of fun for the young ones. From high tech to nature, it's easy to f ...
Community groups plan gun buyback for South Valley
ABQnews Seeker
Community groups are holding a gun ... Community groups are holding a gun buyback next weekend. The buyback event, facilitated by the nonprofit New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence, will be ...