March 16, 2023

Bill to help with costs of STI treatment and prevention heads to Guv’s desk

A bill aimed at reducing the increase in sexually transmitted infection in New Mexico passed the House floor by a 42-23 vote Wednesday evening.

SB 132, sponsored by state Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, would eliminate cost sharing for individuals with health insurance for STI prevention and treatment. The bill was previously amended to state that individuals with high deductible plans with health savings accounts would have to meet the deductible first.

The bill generated some debate on the House floor. Both state Reps. John Block of Alamogordo and Rod Montoya of Farmington, said they were concerned that the insurance companies would pass the costs onto the consumer. Both Republicans opposed the bill.

State Rep. Kristina Ortez, D-Taos, a cosponsor, said eliminating the cost burden is one of equity and would encourage more individuals to get tested. She also said New Mexico is number six in cases of syphilis and in the top ten of states with chlamydia and other STIs.

The bill now heads to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk.