Extends provisions relating to a health insurance demonstration program for independent workers from 2013 to 2014.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend chapter 447 of the laws of 2009, amending the insurance law relating to a health insurance demonstration program for independent workers, in relation to the effectiveness thereof
PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to ensure that independent workers continue to have access to group health insurance coverage.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: This bill amend Chapter 447 of the Laws of 2009, which would extend, for one year, the demonstration program that authorized the Superintendent to approve an eligible insurance company to provide group health insurance coverage to independent workers.
JUSTIFICATION: In 2009, the New York State Legislature authorized a health insurance demonstration program for independent workers. Through this authorization, Freelancers Insurance Company (FIC) was formed to provide independent workers with high-quality, affordable, and portable health benefits. FIC provides stable and sustainable benefits to 25,000 of New York's vulnerable workers. In its role as New York's only social-purpose insurer, it develops innovative cost containment strategies that promote better quality care at more affordable premiums than anything else available on the market.
FIC insures vulnerable New Yorkers; independent workers are far more likely to be uninsured than traditional employees and they often have no affordable health insurance options. Two-thirds of FIC's subscribers were previously uninsured or on COBRA, most earn under $50,000 per year, and no one is denied coverage based on their medical history. Coverage is nearly one-third cheaper than comparable plans in the individual insurance market.
While the Affordable Care Act promises to expand insurance options for many New Yorkers, FIC will continue to play a crucial role for working New Yorkers well beyond 2014. Particularly for independent workers who will not benefit from subsidies, FIC offers premiums well below the prices available on the individual market, bringing health insurance within reach for many working families. Extending the demonstration program beyond 2013 will ensure that those New Yorkers currently covered under FIC will be able to keep their coverage if they wish to do so.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: Program established by A.7949-A (Silver)/S.4602-A (Breslin), Chapter 447 of the Laws of 2009
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6841 IN SENATE March 28, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sens. HANNON, SEWARD -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Insurance AN ACT to amend chapter 447 of the laws of 2009, amending the insurance law relating to a health insurance demonstration program for independ- ent workers, in relation to the effectiveness thereof THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 2 of chapter 447 of the laws of 2009, amending the insurance law relating to a health insurance demonstration program for independent workers, is amended to read as follows: S 2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire and be deemed repealed December 31,
2014. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14199-01-2