New Mexico prosecutor, insurance company spar over taxes

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A standoff over millions of dollars in unpaid insurance premium taxes is escalating between New Mexico’s attorney general and the state’s largest health-care insurance provider.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas on Tuesday renewed accusations that a for-profit insurance arm of Presbyterian Healthcare Services used an illegal accounting procedure to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes and surcharges on insurance premiums.

Subsidiary Presbyterian Health Plan has denied that it owes the state of New Mexico additional premium taxes.

It filed a motion Monday to dismiss the attorney general’s lawsuit. Presbyterian says state insurance regulators reviewed and approved the company’s amendments to past tax payments.

At a news conference in Albuquerque, Balderas urged Presbyterian to pay off tax liabilities dating back to 2003 that were circumvented with an “illegal amendment.”