Crushing medical debt can push consumers and families into poverty and lead to wage garnishment, bankruptcy or ruined credit.
Effective July 1, 2021 New Mexico’s Patient Debt Collection Practices Act created several new requirements for health care providers, debt purchasers, and collection agencies that collect medical debts.
The new requirements include:
- Health care facilities and medical collectors cannot pursue collection actions (including lawsuits and garnishments) against low-income patients (defined as those who earn less than 200% of the income threshold). federal poverty).
- Healthcare facilities must complete the following steps before collecting a bill from a patient:
- Check if a patient has health insurance;
- If the patient is uninsured, screen the patient for all available public insurance and any other financial assistance that might cover the bill;
- Help the patient ask for help.
- Hospitals should provide more information about bills and provide receipts for payments.
For more information:
NM Together for Healthcare, “Governor signs medical debt protections into law” https://nmtogether4health.org/media-press/governor-signs-medical-debt-protections-into-law/
New Mexico Statutes Sections 57-32-1 through 57-32-10 (NMSA 1978), Ch. 57, s. 32 NMSA 1978, https://nmonesource.com/nmos/nmsa/en/item/4423/index.do#!b/a32
Senate Bill 71 – Patient Debt Collection Protection Act https://www.nmlegis.gov/Legislation/Legislation?Chamber=S&LegType=B&LegNo=71&year=21