September 22, 2009

New Report Finds NM Health Premiums Rise at Twice Rate of Wages

Udall Says Report Findings Underscore Need for Health Insurance Reform

WASHINGTON – A new White House report detailing skyrocketing health insurance premiums in New Mexico and across the country is the latest evidence that America's current health care system is unsustainable for New Mexico families, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, said today.

The report, titled The Burden of Health Insurance Premium Increases on American Families, focused on skyrocketing health insurance premiums at the national and state levels. In New Mexico, the report found that insurance premiums increased by 118 percent from 1999 to 2009, while wages only rose by 50 percent.

"This new report is the latest evidence that maintaining the status quo on health care just isn't an option. Too many New Mexican families are paying the financial and physical price for our broken health care system," Udall said. "Now is the time to act, before more New Mexico families are hurt and more businesses go under due to skyrocketing health care costs."

The White House report used statistics from a study released earlier this month by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which found that the average annual family premium for employer-sponsored health insurance rose to $13,375 in 2009 – a 5.5 percent increase in a year in which inflation actually fell by 0.7 percent.

"Across all states, the rise in health insurance premiums is burdening families and threatening our economy," the report stated. "In every state, premiums have increased faster than wages and in every state, family budgets are consumed by an increasing share of health care premiums."

Facts on Health Care Reform in New Mexico:

  • Nearly one in four New Mexicans lacks health insurance
  • New Mexico is the second-highest uninsured state in the nation
  • Every day, 80 New Mexicans lose their health insurance
  • During the last two years, 709,000 New Mexicans under age 65 went without health insurance for some time – which is 41.4 percent of the under 65 population 
  • New Mexican families pay a "hidden tax" of $2,300 on their health insurance premiums due to the unpaid costs of care for the uninsured

To view the full White House report: http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/Health_Insurance_Premium_Report.pdf