Rep. Deborah Armstrong
HB 556, a bill introduced by Rep. Deborah Armstrong to ensure that health care services needed by patients dealing with traumatic brain injuries are covered by insurance plans, unanimously passed New Mexico House of Representatives Wednesday and is now on its way to the Senate.
“Traumatic brain injuries can be debilitating health issues that, until recently, we have had limited means of treating,” Armstrong said. “Today, with advancements in health care and science, there is more and more that can be done to help these patients recover and live better lives with their injuries. We must ensure that New Mexicans have the health insurance coverage needed to allow them to access the treatment they need.”
Specifically, HB 556 amends the Health Care Purchasing Act, the New Mexico Insurance Code, the Health Maintenance Organization Law and the Nonprofit Health Care Plan Law to require insurance policies to cover brain injury treatments and to eliminate any lifetime limit on the amount of care a patient can access.
“Traumatic brain injuries can cause patients to need care for the rest of their lives,” Armstrong said. “It’s critical that there is no limit to patients’ ability to receive services so that they can get the treatment they need to recover and lead fulfilling lives.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, a traumatic brain injury occurs every 21 seconds in our country. In New Mexico, 1,745 people sustain traumatic brain injuries each year and the average cost of care in New Mexico for the first year after an injury is $150,000.