Auditors recommend 'super agency' for N.M. health benefits

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Legislative auditors are recommending that health care benefits for public employees and educators be administered by a single government agency.

A Legislative Finance Committee audit called last week for merging the self-funded health insurance operations for state and local government workers, public school and higher education employees.

Auditors said a consolidated agency would be in a stronger position to negotiate provider rates and control costs because of its joint buying power for health benefits.

Auditors recommended merging the state's Risk Management Division, the Public School Insurance Authority and health insurance operations in Albuquerque Public Schools.

The school authority opposes creating a health benefits "super agency" and APS says an independent study is needed of the consolidation proposal. Gov. Susana Martinez's administration hasn't decided whether to support the merger proposal.

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