New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas said Monday that his office has reached an $18.5 million settlement with Presbyterian Healthcare regarding the company's failure to pay Medicaid premium taxes.
A recent audit released by the state showed that Presbyterian owed $29 million in total unpaid insurance premium taxes dating back to 2001. The settlement announced Monday exceeds the $14.6 million that the audit said Presbyterian owed in just Medicaid premium taxes.
The $18.5 million dollar recovery only settles the Attorney General’s lawsuit regarding the $14.6 million identified for Medicaid Premium taxes, the remainder of the $29 million identified in the Examination Resources audit is still subject to enforcement, Balderas' office said in a news release.
Balderas filed the lawsuit against Presbyterian in July. The suit alleged that Presbyterian and two of its sister companies “systematically” and “brazenly” cheated the state of New Mexico out of tens of millions of dollars in premium taxes over a 14-year period.
The lawsuit alleged that between 2001 and 2015, Presbyterian routinely filed false claims for premium tax deductions and credits, thereby defrauding the people of New Mexico and evading its legal duty to pay these taxes.
“This quick settlement will return critical funds owed to the State of New Mexico and greatly assist the state budget at a crucial time” the AG's release said.
“This $18.5 million settlement returns critical funds owed to New Mexico taxpayers at a time of fiscal crisis,” Balderas said. “New Mexicans deserve access to the best healthcare available and at affordable prices, they should not continue to face higher insurance premiums while quality care becomes harder to access. Presbyterian, and all healthcare companies operating in New Mexico, should be focusing on removing barriers for New Mexico families and providing the best care possible, putting people above profits.”
Nearly half of New Mexico residents rely on Medicaid for access to healthcare, and all healthcare companies in New Mexico are responsible for paying their fair share of taxes from Medicaid dollars.
Balderas continued, “I appreciate Presbyterian’s willingness to do the right thing and pay what they owe through this speedy resolution. Given the corporation’s ambitious future plans, I am optimistic Presbyterian won't repeat its past missteps. However, I will continue to monitor Presbyterian’s compliance with the findings contained in the Examination Resources audit.”