Posted January 6, 2022 by Amanda Dunker

Health Care For All New York (HCFANY) is a statewide coalition of over 170 organizations dedicated to achieving quality, affordable health coverage for all New Yorkers. HCFANY applauds Governor Hochul for her much needed proposals to expand health insurance coverage and affordability in New York, including:

  • Expanding eligibility for the Essential Plan from 200% of the federal poverty level to 250%. The Essential Plan covers nearly one million New Yorkers with no premiums or deductibles.
  • Eliminating premiums for low-income children enrolled in Child Health Plus and expanding benefits to equal those provided to children enrolled in Medicaid. Tens of thousands of children lose health insurance every year because of the premium.
  • Raising Medicaid eligibility for seniors and people with disabilities to 138% of the federal poverty level and eliminating the asset test. This change would mean all New Yorkers face the same eligibility criteria for Medicaid and will protect many New Yorkers from losing health coverage when they turn 65.
  • Extending Medicaid coverage from 60 days postpartum to one year.
  • Creating a Pharmacy Benefits Bureau to license Pharmacy Benefit Managers and requiring justification to regulators for large price hikes.

“No child should lose health coverage because of a $9 premium,” said Benjamin Anderson, Director of Health and Economic Mobility Policy at the Children’s Defense Fund – New York. “As we’ve seen with last year’s elimination of premiums within the Essential Plan, removing premiums has a positive effect on continuity of coverage and care.”

“HCFANY is gratified that Governor Hochul seeks to make health coverage more affordable for  moderate-income working New Yorkers by expanding New York’s remarkably popular Essential Plan to people up to 250% of the Federal Poverty Level,” said Elisabeth R. Benjamin, Vice President of Health Initiatives at the Community Service Society of NY, “but we remain deeply concerned that she may be leaving New York’s immigrants out of her agenda and fervently hope that this potential oversight is corrected in her budget.” “Immigrants have been on the front lines during the pandemic, even though they face more barriers to health coverage than other New Yorkers,” said Bob Cohen, Policy and Research Director at Citizen Action of New York. “New York should support immigrants by expanding eligibility for the Essential Plan to all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status.

“Extending Medicaid coverage to one year after the end of pregnancy would be a life-saver and is vital for reducing maternal morbidity and mortality in New York,” said Lois Uttley, Women’s Health Program Director for Community Catalyst. “That said, this proposal appears to exclude some immigrant women— but there is no way to meaningfully address health equity and racial and ethnic disparities in maternal mortality if our state excludes immigrant women from coverage.”