NM insurance premiums jumped after Trump actions

New Mexicans who buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s exchange will pay higher premiums this year, and recent actions by the Trump administration are a big reason why. Customers who earn $47,000 or more and are not covered by employers will see the largest bump. This all comes as open enrollment began on Nov. 1 and will run through Dec. 15.

State insurance superintendent warns against ‘swift changes’ to Affordable Care Act

The State Superintendent of Insurance told the U.S. House Majority Leader that the Affordable Care Act is flawed, but still warned against drastic changes that would hurt New Mexicans. This came in a letter from Superintendent John Franchini sent to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., last week. “While we agree that there are significant opportunities for improving the ACA, we caution the new administration in making any swift changes that will destabilize the market or upend the gains made to coverage for New Mexico residents,” Franchini wrote. “Importantly, tax credits and cost-sharing reductions serve a vital function in diversifying the risk pool of individuals who purchase insurance.”

The call against “swift changes” comes during a debate between Republican members of Congress and President-elect Donald Trump’s team over how quickly to repeal the ACA and whether to do so in tandem with a replacement plan. #mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; width:100%;}
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Guv, OSI say they didn’t send letter calling for ACA replacement

Both Gov. Susana Martinez and the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance say they did not send a letter to Republicans in Congress and others about the Affordable Care Act. Congressional Republicans have been talking about repealing ACA, also known as Obamacare, in the coming year under President-elect Donald Trump. They’re debating whether to pass a repeal along with an immediate replacement or to repeal then pass a replacement plan later. PoliticoPro, a subscription service, first reported that Martinez and Superintendent of Insurance John Franchini sent a letter urging Congressional Republicans not to repeal the law without a replacement set up. A later report, again from PoliticoPro, said Martinez’s office denied sending the letter.

Three agencies question OSI’s plan to collect $193 million owed to state

Three state agencies expressed a lack of confidence Thursday in the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance’s (OSI) ability to collect millions of dollars back taxes owed to the state from health insurance companies. State Auditor Tim Keller, Department of Finance and Administration State Budget Division Director A.J. Forte and Legislative Finance Committee Deputy Director Charles Sallee all expressed doubts in OSI’s plans to collect an estimated $193 million that it failed to collect from premium health insurance taxes from 2010 through 2015. The comments came at an interim Legislative Finance Committee hearing. “I think it’s very notable there are three oversight agencies looking at this,” Forte told state lawmakers. “There are too many inconsistencies for me to feel comfortable in this process.”

The controversy began when Keller’s office revealed the uncollected revenue in a special audit earlier this year.

Official grilled over department’s failure to collect $193 million in taxes

Lawmakers questioned the State Auditor and the Superintendent of Insurance for the first time after the release of an audit that showed the state failed to collect nearly $200 million in taxes from insurance companies. The pointed questions from the Legislative Finance Committee were all directed at the State Superintendent of Insurance John Franchini. Franchini said he saw the audit that showed $193 million in uncollected taxes was constructive. “We are able to take the recommendations into consideration and incorporate into our organization’s restructuring,” Franchini said of the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance (OSI). He also said it should not be called an audit, instead a “review of our premium tax department.”

Meanwhile, Deputy State Auditor Sanjay Bhakta flatly contradicted several points Franchini made during his presentation to the legislators about problems with premium tax collection from insurance companies.

Insurance company leaving individual NM HIX market at end of year

Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico will not be offering individual plans on the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange in 2016 after the Superintendent of Insurance rejected a large requested pay hike. Albuquerque Business First reported the news and it comes just weeks after the company requested approval for a premium rate increase. The insurance company had requested a 51.6 percent premium rate hike, but the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance rejected the proposal earlier this month. The move will impact 35,000 individuals who bought insurance from the company both directly and through the exchange. Those who have BCBSNM insurance plans from other plans will not be impacted.