New Mexico AG, insurance firm reach $18.5M settlement

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office has reached an $18.5 million settlement agreement with the state’s largest health insurance provider over unpaid premium taxes.

Attorney General Hector Balderas on Monday announced the settlement with the for-profit insurance arm of Presbyterian Healthcare Services concerning unpaid insurance premium taxes dating back to 2003-2004.

Presbyterian Healthcare Services CEO Dale Maxwell says fraud allegations against the company were dropped prior to payment of the settlement. He says the payment will not interfere with the company’s ability to provide health care coverage.

Prosecutors had accused insurance subsidiary Presbyterian Health Plan of using an illegal accounting procedure to avoid taxes and surcharges.

The settlement represents a larger amount than the $14.3 million in unpaid premium taxes described in a recent state-commissioned audit.