New Mexico will cover majority of educator health insurance premiums

New Mexico will cover majority of educator health insurance premiums

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Additional financial assistance is coming to educators in New Mexico. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a new law Thursday to cover more than half the cost of health insurance premiums for all educators in New Mexico.

“We know this is a great first step,” said Whitney Holland, president of the American Federation of Teachers in New Mexico. “It didn’t do what we wanted it to do, in the end, but we’re fixing some of the issues.”

Holland says the final version of the initiative does not change the game for which it was announced.

The governor originally offered to cover 100% of health insurance premiums during his state of the state address. State lawmakers reduced that amount to just 80% for educators earning less than $50,000 a year, 70% for educators earning between $50,000 and $60,000 a year, and 60% for educators earning over 60. $000.

“A lot of our larger districts, or those with stronger unions, stronger collective bargaining, already have that or more,” Holland said. “The comments we’re hearing are that it’s not affecting them as much as they thought it was in January.”

Holland says educators in some of the state’s major school districts — including Albuquerque Public Schools — likely won’t see any change in their monthly contributions.

It’s a different story in rural New Mexico.

“It took a long time to come,” Barbara Garcia said.

Garcia is a teaching assistant for Belen Consolidated Schools. She’s been paying her family’s health insurance bill for nearly two decades, and she knows monthly deductions can sting.

“When you get paid, and you see your check, and you see the health care deduction, you’re like, Oh, my God, that’s almost, you know, $400 on your paycheck,” she said. “With the extra money, you know, maybe I can save it for my retirement, I can invest in something before it’s time for me to retire.”

Garcia says she’s grateful for the extra relief. She believes this will be an incentive for new and current teachers across the state. Holland added that lowering teachers’ health insurance premiums will also bolster recruitment efforts across the state.

“NEA New Mexico surveyed their members and that was one of the main issues. They don’t want to go into teaching because of health care,” she said. “I think the more we reduce that, the more we’re going to see the benefits.”

State lawmakers set aside $32 million in the state budget to cover the health insurance initiative. The budget also includes funding for a 6% average raise for all teachers in New Mexico and raising the salaries of educational assistants to $25,000.

Republican lawmakers criticized spending increases during the legislative session. Some have argued that past investments in education have not led to higher academic performance scores. Holland asks for patience.

“We’re not going to see immediate results with kids, we’re not going to see instant gratification, but we’re going to see graduation rates improve hopefully we’re going to see kids wanting to stay in school. school, we’re going to see passionate kids and experience those passions at school, whether it’s through CTE or other avenues,” she said. “So by trusting us in this partnership, we are going to see results, it may not be right away.”

The state health insurance premium initiative is set to begin July 1.

#Mexico #cover #majority #educator #health #insurance #premiums, 1680327167

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top