Insurance Companies to Expand Timely Access to Behavioral Health Services – In response to the governor’s recent declaration of a public health emergency in response to gun violence in New Mexico’s largest metropolitan area, the state’s top insurance regulator ordered health insurance companies on Tuesday to extend early access to behavioral health.
Although the order has been blocked by a federal judge, other parts of the order are still in effect, including the governor’s mandate to public health agencies to address substance use and mental health issues.
The order was originally proposed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Ulan Grisham, who wanted to prohibit people from carrying firearms openly or in a concealed manner in Albuquerque and the county surrounding it. The order was put on hold by a federal judge after several legal challenges.
Following an emergency order issued by Superintendent of Insurance Alice Kane, most major medical health insurers now offer in-network rates for out of network behavioral health services.
“My office is dedicated to eliminating barriers to essential health care and doing all we can to ensure timely access to essential behavioral health care,” said Kane. “This order applies to fully-insured individuals, small- and large-group health plans sold through the state’s health insurance market.”
Grisham’s health emergency has been met with criticism from many who believe it is a violation of the constitutional right to bear arms for self-defense.
Republican lawmakers are threatening to impeach Grisham, and some prominent Democrats and civil rights advocates have warned that Grisham’s actions could damage efforts to reduce gun violence more than help it. Even a United States House committee was poised to vote on a resolution that would censure the governor. The committee’s motion for censure cited previous US Supreme Court rulings on gun rights.