Advocates point out loopholes in new medical debt law – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico 2021-09-26 00:15:13 –

This year, state legislators prevent this by checking whether uninsured patients are eligible for public programs like Medicaid and asking healthcare providers to help them register. Passed a law that attempts to.

The law also makes it illegal for donors and creditors to sue low-income patients or send them to collection over medical debt, and those who defend people in these situations say this is important. increase.

“You don’t have to avoid the medical care you need for fear of financial ruin. Here in New Mexico, a quarter of New Mexico is in debt to the collection and 37% of patients experience medical debt or medical problems. I know I’m doing. The bills run out of all my savings just to pay those bills, “said Nicholas Cordova of the New Mexico Law and Poverty Center.

Meite Lopez said he knew that feeling directly. She said she was kicked off her insurance as a freshman at UNM.

“During that time, I had stopped treatment, but I never received primary care. I didn’t go to the dental office or receive eye care,” Lopez said.

But then Lopez said he had to undergo emergency surgery to remove the organs — leaving her with a collection of over $ 18,000 at the age of 28.

“Because of that debt, my credit score is really low. I can’t get a credit card and I can’t buy a car. I basically live from salary to salary.” Said Lopez.

She hopes that such a law would have been in force many years ago.

“I even thought about bankruptcy.”

Unless this new law is in force, doctors and lawyers still say there are loopholes.

“Hospitals and healthcare providers don’t have to check a patient’s income in the first place,” Cordova said. “The second loophole we have identified is that if you qualify for protection from these collection actions, that protection will automatically expire after a year.”

Legislators have passed the law, but it is now the duty of the insurance regulator to enact and enforce the rules.

“That debt is like blocking me. I don’t have many choices so I can’t advance my career, advance my life, or advance as needed. I feel it, “said Lopez.

If you would like to talk about this, a virtual hearing will be held on Monday, September 27th, or you can send your concerns by mail or email. For more information on laws and meetings, please visit: New Mexico together for health care.

Advocates point out loopholes in new medical debt law Source link Advocates point out loopholes in new medical debt law

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