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New law limits insurance administrative costs

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Law will also stop discrimination against women in the pricing of medical insurance

By Barry Massey

SANTA FE — New state laws will stop discrimination against women in the pricing of medical insurance and limit how much health insurance companies spend on administrative costs.

Gov. Bill Richardson signed the measures into law on Tuesday, saying they will improve the state’s health care system.

“Currently, insurers in New Mexican can charge women up to 20 percent more than men for individual and small group health insurance plans. This is unacceptable,” Richardson said.

Under the new legislation, insurance companies must phase out by 2014 the use of gender as a factor in setting rates for medical coverage in policies directly sold to individuals and small groups of up to 50 workers.

Giovanna Rossi Pressley, director of the Governor’s Women’s Health Council, said it “takes a critical step toward making New Mexico’s health insurance markets more equitable.”


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