New Mexico lawmakers passed new legislation designed to close gaps in the state’s current telehealth insurance coverage law, provide coverage clarity to patients, and ensure payment parity to in-network health care providers. The Legislature passed, nearly unanimously (98-1), legislation ensuring that commercial health plans will cover medical services delivered in-person or via telemedicine. The bill now heads to the office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for signature. If signed into law, the bill should bring New Mexico to the forefront of telehealth coverage, benefitting patients and helping catalyze the growth of these technologies throughout the state.
New Mexico enacted its initial telehealth coverage law in 2013. However, the restrictive language of that law failed to ensure that patients could enjoy meaningful insurance coverage of services delivered via telehealth. Accordingly, New Mexico revisited the statute and the current bill would amend the law to align with model language and best practices. A number of other state legislatures are considering similar amendments to their current telehealth coverage laws in order to close these perceived loopholes and give patients and healthcare providers clarity on what medical services are (and are not) covered when delivered via telehealth.
Note: attorneys in Foley’s Telemedicine & Digital Health Industry Team helped draft the legislative language in New Mexico’s new bill (SB 354).
SB 354 amends New Mexico’s current telehealth commercial insurance coverage laws (NMSA §§ 13-7-14, 59A-22-49.3, 59A-23-7.12, 59A-46-50.3, 59A-47-45.3) to state that a health plan shall provide coverage for services provided via telemedicine to the same extent the health plan covers the same services when those services are provided via in-person consultation or contact.
Other notable provisions in the legislation are as follows:
If the updated New Mexico legislation becomes law, approximately 36 states plus D.C. will have laws requiring commercial health insurance plans to cover telehealth services, and approximately ten of those states will have payment parity language. We will continue to monitor for any legislative changes that affect or improve telemedicine opportunities.
Join us for a deeper discussion of state telehealth laws at the American Telemedicine Association’s 2019 Annual Conference and Expo in New Orleans on April 14-16, 2019. Read the current program agenda and register here.
For more information on telemedicine, telehealth, virtual care, remote patient monitoring, digital health, and other health innovations, including the team, publications, and representative experience, visit Foley’s Telemedicine & Digital Health Industry Team.