New Mexico House *unanimously* votes to rein in the "Short" part of #ShortAssPlans

A couple of weeks ago, Louise Norris gave me a heads up that not only has the New Mexico Insurance Dept. restricted the sale of non-ACA compliant "short-term, limited duration" plans to be...you know...both short term and of limited duration via regulation...

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 duration, but they noted that legislation would be needed for other changes, including minimum loss ratios and benefit mandates.

New Mexico’s insurance regulations were amended, effective February 1, 2019, to define short-term plans 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.

...but that there was actual legislation in the works to codify those restrictions (and others) into law just to be sure:

...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 out of committee with unanimous support in February.

HB285 includes the same durational and sales limits that the state has already implemented via regulation, but it goes further than that. The legislation would also give 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 would have to be covered by the plans.

Assuming this bill were to become law, short-term plans would presumably not only be limited in duration, but would also have to meet similar (or the same?) standards of coverage as official ACA policies. Of course, if that were to happen, it would pretty much negate most of the point of enrolling in short-term plans in the first place (i.e., they tend to have significantly lower unsubsidized premiums than ACA plans due to not covering nearly as much)...but again, that's the whole issue in a nutshell.

Well, today this happened:

NM House of Reps unanimously passes bill to regulate short-term health plans. #nmleg #nmpol

— Colin Baillio (@colinb1123) February 25, 2019

What's most interesting about this isn't that the bill passed--New Mexico does have a Democratic trifecta now, after all, with the state House, Senate and Governor's office under their control--but that it was a unanimous vote. I took a look and the NM House has 46 Dems and 24 Republican members, while the state Senate is 24 D to 16 R. Fascinating.