Short-term health insurance is not available in New Mexico.
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Availability of short-term health insurance in New Mexico
No insurers currently market temporary health insurance in New Mexico
In 2019, New Mexico’s legislature passed a law that strictly regulates the sale of short-term health insurance plans. As a result of the rules, carriers do not currently market short-term plans in the state.
Frequently asked questions about short-term health insurance in New Mexico
Can consumers buy short-term health insurance in New Mexico?
No. New Mexico limits short-term plans to three months, prohibits renewals, and imposes various state regulations on short-term plans. These rules took effect in 2019, and insurers soon stopped selling short-term plans in the state. As of 2023, there are still no short-term plans for sale in New Mexico.
Which short-term plan durations are permitted under New Mexico rules?
Amended regulations, effective February 1, 2019, define short-term health insurance in New Mexico as nonrenewable, and with terms of no more than three months. The regulations also prohibit insurers from selling a short-term plan to anyone who has had short-term coverage within the previous 12 months.
The Trump administration began allowing short-term health insurance plans to be offered with extended durations as of October 2, 2018, unless a state had its own restrictions. At that point, New Mexico did not yet have its own limits on short-term plans. So for a few months, short-term plans with initial terms of up to a year were available for purchase in the state.
But in September 2018, the New Mexico 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 short-term plan duration, but they noted that legislation would be needed for other changes, including minimum loss ratios and benefit mandates (as described in the next section, the necessary legislation was enacted in March 2019, strengthening the state’s regulatory approach).
The new rules took effect at the beginning of February 2019, but 12-month short-term plans were still for sale at that point via various online brokerages. The New Mexico Office of the Superintended of Insurance (OSI) confirmed that while the new rules for short-term plans did take effect in February, there were still plans for sale that were approved prior to that date, and those could continue to be sold under their already-approved terms. But any new plans that are submitted to state regulators for approval were required have term limits of no more than three months and be non-renewable. And OSI clarified in April 2019 that insurers had to immediately stop selling non-compliant short-term plans. Any such plans that had already been sold had to terminate no later than December 31, 2019.
By mid-2019, a search of various online brokerages indicated there was no short-term health insurance in New Mexico being sold. There are other states, including California, Colorado, and Hawaii, where regulations for short-term medical plans have been strengthened since 2018 and insurers have since abandoned the short-term market.
What are New Mexico's rules and regulations regarding short-term health insurance?
In January 2019, HB285 was introduced by Rep. Micaela Cadena (D, 33rd District) in an effort to much more closely regulate short-term plans in New Mexico. The legislation passed with unanimous support in both the House and Senate, and was signed into law by Governor Lujan Grisham in March 2019. HB285 includes the same durational and sales limits that the state has already implemented via regulation (ie, the plans must be nonrenewable and have terms of no more than three months), but it goes further than that. The legislation also gives OSI the authority to regulate a wide range of provisions related to short-term plans, including minimum loss ratios and minimum standards as far as benefits that the plans must provide, including state-mandated benefits.
What coverage options, other than short-term health insurance, are available in New Mexico?
Consumers in New Mexico can buy ACA-compliant health insurance through the state’s marketplace, beWellnm (also referred to as NMHIX, or the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange). Four carriers offer coverage through the exchange in 2023.
ACA-compliant plans are purchased on a monthly basis, so you can enroll in coverage even for only a few months until another policy takes effect — and if you’re eligible, you may qualify for financial assistance in the form of a premium subsidy.
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.