Buying a short-term health plan in New Mexico
- New Mexico currently defaults to the federal rules for short-term plans.
- Plans with initial terms up to 364 days and total duration, including renewals, of up to 36 months can be offered as of October 2018.
- But New Mexico consumer advocates are expecting legislation in 2019 to regulate short-term plans.
- And the state’s Superintendent of Insurance is expected to issue regulations limiting plan duration in the fall of 2018.
- At least two insurers offer short-term plans in New Mexico.
New Mexico defaults to federal short-term regulations
The Trump Administration is allowing short-term health insurance plans to be offered with extended durations as of October 2, 2018, unless a state has its own restrictions.
New Mexico does not yet have state-specific regulations for short-term health insurance plans; the state currently defaults to the federal regulations and does not actively monitor short-term plans in the state.
But in late September, the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance (OSI) and Health Action NM (an advocacy group for universal access to health care) presented details about potential state actions to stabilize the individual market. OSI has the authority to regulate some aspects of the plans, including maximum duration, but legislation would be needed for other changes, including minimum loss ratios and benefit mandates.
OSI is expected to publish regulatory guidance in the fall of 2018 related to the maximum duration of short-term plans. It’s likely that the regulations will limit short-term plans to three months and prohibit renewals. Additional regulations for short-term plans could be implemented via legislation in 2019.
How long can short-term plans last in New Mexico?
Because New Mexico does not currently limit short-term plans, the Trump Administration’s new regulations are applicable in the state as of October 2, 2018. Insurers are allowed to offer short-term plans with initial terms up to 364 days and the option to renew for a total duration of up to 36 months. If the state implements new rules, however, they would supersede the federal regulations.
Which insurers offer short-term plans in New Mexico?
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico
- National General
Louise Norris is an individual health insurance broker who has been writing about health insurance and health reform since 2006. She has written dozens of opinions and educational pieces about the Affordable Care Act for healthinsurance.org. Her state health exchange updates are regularly cited by media who cover health reform and by other health insurance experts.