Provides that depreciation of assets of all self-employed individuals shall not be considered income for purposes of determining eligibility for the family health plus program.
BILL NUMBER: S280
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the social services law, in relation to the determination of eligibility for the family health plus program for self-employed individuals
PURPOSE : To provide self-employed individuals with greater access to the Family Health Plus program, by removing depreciation of business assets from income eligibility calculations.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : The Social Services Law is amended as follows: Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 369-ee of the social services law is amended by adding a new paragraph (d) to extract depreciated business assets from gross family income for the purposes of Family Health Plus program. This amendment will only apply if all necessary approvals under federal law have been met.
JUSTIFICATION : New York has made great advances in providing residents with quality health care at an affordable price. Successful programs like Child Health Plus and Family Health Plus have helped many families afford health insurance and better access to needed health care. However, barriers to program access arise in certain circumstances surrounding the Family Health Plus program and depreciation of business related assets for self-employed individuals.
Currently, when a family applies for insurance through the Family Health Plus program, the family income must be below a certain threshold (150 percent of the federal poverty level) for eligibility. Many families who are self-employed seemingly meet this threshold, yet are prevented from accessing the program, as the family income, as stated on the program application forms, is required to include depreciation of business assets.
One segment of the self employed population is especially hard hit by this. Farmers, by nature of their land and equipment-intensive business, must purchase expensive farm machinery on an ongoing basis, and most times add the cost of such machinery to their already considerable farm debt load. As a result, depreciation of such machinery, including tractors, combines and spreaders, is customary in the farm business. While inclusion of depreciation in income calculations may provide indications regarding the extent of farm machinery owed for necessary farm operation, it does not help to accurately reflect actual farm family income.
For example, a farm family of four may be living on approximately $22,000 in actual annual farm income, and thus seemingly would be eligible for Family Health Plus. However, when depreciation of farm machinery is included in the family income, the same family could appear to be making $90,000 a year and be prevented from access to the Family Health Plus program. As a result, steps must be taken to facilitate access to the Family Health Plus program for families in these circumstances. This is also evident in many self-employed individuals.
This legislation is a follow-up to Chapter 101 of the Laws of 2007 which applied only to farm families, but because the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) believed that the farm-only waiver enacted by New York State was too narrowly drafted, we have redrafted the proposal in order to broaden the scope of the legislation to address CMS's concerns.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : 2008: S.7472/A.10800 Reilly Veto 166 Similar legislation was chaptered in 2007 (Chapter 101), but failed to receive the necessary federal waiver.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : Minimal.
EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all determinations made on or after such effective date.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 280 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 7, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sen. LITTLE -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Social Services, Children and Families AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to the determi- nation of eligibility for the family health plus program for self-em- ployed individuals THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph (d) of subdivision 2 of section 369-ee of the social services law, as added by chapter 101 of the laws of 2007, is amended to read as follows:
[(d)](E) For purposes of determining income eligibility pursuant to this subdivision, depreciation of assets owned by [a]self-employed [individual operating a farm operation as defined in section three hundred one of the agriculture and markets law]INDIVIDUALS, as included on the Internal Revenue Service Form 1040 of the applicable year, shall not be included as part of the gross family income. If all necessary approvals relating to this paragraph under federal law and regulation have not been obtained to receive federal financial participation, then this paragraph shall not apply; however, that shall not affect the status of any other provision of this title. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all determinations made on or after such effective date.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00853-01-9