March 18, 2005


New Mexico Governor signs health care bill for unmarried young adults

A press release issued today from the New Mexico Governor's Office reports that Gov. Bill Richardson signed several bills -- all part of his Insure New Mexico! Initiative -- to increase the number of state residents with health care coverage.  One of the bills affects unmarried adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

Here are relevant excerpts from the press release..

Santa Fe, March 18, 2005 –
Today Governor Bill Richardson signed into law pieces of legislation that will help decrease the number of New Mexicans without medical insurance, which stands at 414,000. The bills are part of Governor Bill Richardson’s
Insure New Mexico! initiatives.

“Today I am fulfilling a campaign promise I made to the people of New Mexico – I promised to expand access to quality, affordable health insurance; reduce the number of citizens without insurance; and increase the number of employers who offer insurance to their employees,” said Richardson at today’s bill signing ceremony.

The legislation includes:

􀂾 HB 335, Health Coverage for Unmarried Dependents.

New Mexico has the second highest rate of uninsured in the nation, at 22.1 percent. These pieces of legislation, along with implementation of the State Coverage Initiative and expanding outreach to Native American and Hispanic children who are eligible but are not enrolled in Medicaid, will help approximately 35,000 uninsured New Mexicans get health insurance.

The Health Coverage for Unmarried Dependents legislation, HB 335 and its duplicate, SB 271, which the legislature passed last night, sponsored by Rep. Danice Picraux and Sen. Dede Feldman, allow unmarried dependents to stay on their parents’ coverage until they turn 25 years old. About 32 percent of New Mexicans between the ages of 18 to 24 years are uninsured (HRSA Household Survey, 2004). This legislation is expected to insure approximately 4,000 unmarried dependents.