In March 2004, New Mexico passed a budget bill apparently requiring health maintenance organizations (HMO’s) and medical insurers to cover neonatal circumcision.

In a surprising development that we expect will shortly be overturned either through legislative revision or litigation, New Mexico passed a bill including among its provisions an unprecedented requirement that the state’s insurers and HMO’s cover neonatal circumcision. This provision’s survival is quite unlikely given the highly dubious position of this procedure in the medical community, including the refusal of both the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics to endorse neonatal circumcision as a routine practice. Not to mention the growing trend of states refusing to fund circumcisions through Medicare, as recently happened in New Mexico’s neighboring state of Arizona. We can expect to have insurers and HMO’s on our side as we work to eliminate this requirement.

New Mexico Bill SB502, signed on March 10, 2004 by Governor Bill Richardson, increased the tax on health insurance premiums by 1 percent and also seems to require insurance and HMO coverage of circumcision for newborn males and a certain test for pregnant women to screen for genetic abnormalities in the fetus. The bill became effective July 1, 2004.

Report in the Albuquerque Journal: PDF
Full text of bill: PDF