New Mexico seeks new payments from Medicaid patients


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – Low-income Medicaid patients in New Mexico may soon have to pay more for certain brand-name drugs or if they visit the emergency room to receive routine medical care.

The state Human Services Department on Wednesday sought permission from federal regulators to authorize the collection of new copayments and monthly premiums in an effort to conserve state spending on Medicaid health care for the poor and disabled.

Human Service Secretary Brent Earnest said New Mexico’s long-awaited Medicaid reform application also would expand services for substance abuse disorders and phase out retroactive health care coverage by 2020 for newly enrolled patients.

Taken together, the changes would save the state general fund an estimated $90 million over a five-year period. Approval is up to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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