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For Immediate Release: May 15, 2009
Contact: Errol Cockfield | errol.cockfield@chamber.state.ny.us | 212.681.4640 | 518.474.8418

GOVERNOR PATERSON INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO MAKE HEALTH INSURANCE MORE AFFORDABLE AND IMPROVE ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

Package Includes Proposals to Extend the Availability of COBRA Coverage for New Yorkers Who Lose Their Jobs and to Insure Dependents Up to Age 29

Other Proposals Will Make Insurance and Needed Health Services More Accessible

Governor David A. Paterson today announced legislation that will introduce several new initiatives to make health insurance more affordable and improve access to health care for more New Yorkers. The four bills submitted to the Legislature will: (1) extend the period of time for the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) coverage from 18 to 36 months; (2) permit families to cover their young adult dependents through age 29 under their job-based insurance; (3) require health insurers to get approval from the Superintendent of Insurance before increasing premium rates; and (4) enact a series of managed care reforms to protect the ability of consumers who have health insurance to timely access necessary health services.

"These reforms will make health insurance more affordable for everyday New Yorkers. More than two million of our residents do not have health insurance, partly because of the high cost of coverage for businesses, individuals and families,” said Governor Paterson. “We must take the necessary steps to improve our broken health care system. By making insurance coverage more accessible, we bring people into the system before they need emergency treatment, reducing the overall cost of health care to the entire State.”

The Governor‘s proposals include:

Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo said: “The Governor’s legislative package includes substantial reforms that will have a real impact on New Yorkers, allowing those who currently cannot afford health insurance to obtain coverage. In addition, these proposals will benefit businesses which pay for group coverage for their employees.”

Commissioner of Health Richard F. Daines, M.D., said: “I commend Governor Paterson for his commitment to increasing access to health insurance, which gives individuals access to consistent primary and preventive care and helps them avoid chronic disease and avoidable hospitalizations.”

The legislation announced today builds upon other initiatives aimed at increasing the availability and affordability of health insurance. In March, Governor Paterson signed into law his Program Bill to help New Yorkers who lost their jobs at small businesses take advantage of a COBRA subsidy made available under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). In addition, the 2009-10 enacted budget eliminated certain barriers to enrolling in public health insurance coverage such as face-to-face interviews, finger imaging, and asset tests, and authorized the Department of Health to seek federal support for expanded coverage for low-income adults. Moreover, as of September 1, 2008, all of New York’s uninsured children became eligible for moderate or no-cost health care coverage under Child Health Plus.

 

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New York State | Executive Chamber | press.office@chamber.state.ny.us | 212.681.4640 | 518.474.8418

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