Protecting New Mexicans from Medical Debt

People should be able to access healthcare when they need it, without fear of facing devastating medical debt. Almost a quarter of New Mexico’s population has medical debt in collections, and hospitals in the state sue thousands of patients for unpaid medical bills–garnishing their wages, placing liens on their homes, and ruining their credit. 

Thirty-seven percent of adults who reported medical debt or a problem with medical bills used up all of their savings to pay these bills. Patients with medical bill problems are nearly three times more likely to postpone needed care. 

With our partners in the NM Together for Healthcare coalition, NMCLP successfully advocated for legislation in 2021 that prohibits hospitals and providers from suing low-income patients or sending them to collections over a medical bill. The law also requires hospitals, urgent cares, and clinics to check if patients qualify for public insurance (like Medicaid) or programs that can cover healthcare costs. We work with the agencies in charge of implementing this law to make sure the law adequately protects patients. We also work with low-income patients to make sure they are protected from being or sent to collections over a medical bill. 

Learn more about your rights under this law, here.

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