As the legislative session closed this week, one out of three health insurance bills passed.
The measure that passed (A395) eases enrollment into HealthNY. This State-subsidized insurance program offers a stripped-down benefit package, inferior to most standard employee plans and fails to cover uninsured New Yorkers with pre-exisiting conditions. The bill eliminates a “crowd-out” provision in current law which prevented employers and individuals from exchanging private or employer-sponsored coverage from HealthyNY. The legislature has made no similar efforts to eliminate “crowd out” provisions for comprehensive public insurance like Child Health Plus or Family Health Plus. Many advocates are urging the Governor to veto this bill on the grounds that this measure moves New York in the wrong reform direction.
The second insurance bill, which passed the Senate, but did not pass out of the Assembly, was a package of managed care reforms (A11737/S4481-A). This bill included a measure for providers to file external appeals on behalf of their patients and extended certain consumer protections to enrollees’ currently unregulated insurance products. It is unclear why this bill died in the Assembly.
The third bill (A11680) would have allowed plans to raise premiums more easily and with less oversight. Advocates worked hard to defeat this bill which did not provide adequate consumer and governmnet oversight over insurers ability to raise premiums.