Report Says NM Families Protected By Health Reform Law

Las Cruces, NM – The Affordable Care Act passed last March introduces annual caps on out -of-pocket expenses. The caps will reduce the costs associated with unexpected injuries or illnesses.

The spending caps don't go into effect until 2014, but the consumer health group Families USA conducted a study to look at the impact of the caps on New Mexico families and if they were going into effect this year.

For an individual the legislation places a cap at five thousand nine hundred fifty dollars. For families the cap is eleven thousand nine hundred dollars.

Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack says the study focused on numbers that are above the cap.

Pollack-"The report tries to assess what the impact will be on families in NM as a result of this important new set of protections. We tried to determine how many people in 2011 are likely to spend in excess of the cap. These are the very people who would gain protection of the cap."

The report shows one hundred and twenty one thousand New Mexicans under the age of sixty-five who will be spending more than the caps. The total amount of money those New Mexicans will be spending out-of-pocket is almost two hundred five million dollars. Two out of three of people affected by the caps are in working families.

New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan says the spending caps haven't received much attention.

Lujan-" There are a number of important aspects of health insurance reform that will benefit families and small business in NM that we hear discussed often, but one aspect that has not received much attention that people don't truly see until it hits them are caps on how much people have to spend on out-of-pocket expenses for health care services."

The report dubbed "Worry Less, Spend Less: Out-of-Pocket Spending Caps Protect Families in New Mexico" was conducted by the Lewin Group, a health care policy research and management firm. More information on the results can be found at