In 2021, the New Mexico Legislature passed the Patients’ Debt Collection Protection Act. Rules are still needed to implement the law, but the proposed rules are currently missing key protections for patients. This is a critical moment for the public to weigh in.
The new law:
- Prohibits medical providers and creditors from suing low-income patients or sending them to collections over medical debt.
- Requires hospitals, urgent care centers, and other healthcare facilities to check if uninsured patients qualify for public programs like Medicaid and to help them enroll.
- Requires the Office of Superintendent of Insurance (OSI) to issue rules explaining how patients show they qualify for the law’s protections.
Tell OSI that basic protections must be in the rules!
OSI’s proposed rules include several strong provisions. However, to ensure the law actually protects patients from debt, key revisions are needed. These include:
(1) Requiring medical providers and creditors to determine if a patient is low income before suing or sending them to collections. OSI’s proposed rules do not require medical providers or creditors to check a patient’s income before suing or sending a patient to collections.
(2) The protection for low-income patients should not expire after one year. Patients who have shown that they are low income should not have to submit paperwork annually to be protected from lawsuits and being sent to collections for a medical bill. OSI’s proposed rules let this protection expire after one year, which would be burdensome for families and medical providers and leave patients whom the Legislature protected at risk.
How to make your voice heard:
- Submit written comments with subject line “RE: SB71 Proposed Rules”by September 27 at 4:00 p.m.
- By email to OSIfirstname.lastname@example.org
- By mail to OSI Records & Docketing, NM Office of Superintendent of Insurance, P.O. Box 1689, Santa Fe, NM 87504-1689
- Speak at a virtual public hearing on September 27, 2021 at 9:00 am. How to join:
- By Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83654595694 Meeting ID: 836 5459 5694
- By Telephone: 1-312-626-6799 Meeting ID: 836 5459 5694