Logo, The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care - Health Care Advocacy Group
(518) 462-2296
P.O. Box 1412
Albany, NY 12201

MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION

Bill:     A.3713/S.3477 ≠ An act to amend the insurance law, in relation to coverage for the purchase of cranial prosthesis (wigs).

The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care, a coalition of nearly 2,100 New York employers and premium payers committed to keeping health care in New York affordable, supports a moratorium on all health insurance mandates.  The high cost of health care in New York continues to climb at two to three times the rate of inflationAccordingly, the Employer Alliance opposes A.3713/S.3477 because it will further increase the cost of health insurance at a time when the rate of New Yorkπs employer-based health insurance continues to erode.

The impact of increasing health care costs in New York is evident in the stateπs stubbornly high rate of uninsured.  According to the United Hospital Fund, of the more than 3 million New Yorkers with no insurance, 63% work full-time.  This suggests that health insurance affordability is at the root of New Yorkπs stubbornly high rate of uninsured.  New York is facing a crisis that demands legislative initiatives to enhance access to insurance ≠ not more mandates like A.3713/S.3477 that exacerbate costs and reduce coverage options for employers and employees alike.

Mandates contribute to the high cost of health care in New York State.  According to a study by NovaRest Consultants (2003), health insurance mandates in New York account for more than 12% of premium ≠  more than $1,000 on a family policy.  Like all mandates A.3713/S.3477 has costs that will further increase premiums.

Most mandates come with compelling stories that evoke tremendous sympathy.  This legislation is no exception.  However, asking premium payers to underwrite the costs of purchasing wigs is poor public policy.  There is no medical guideline in the treatment of any disease that suggests such a purchase will enhance the medical outcome of the patient.  Asking employers, in these difficult times, to absorb the additional costs associated with a benefit that will not save a single life is inappropriate. 

Today, New York has more than 100 mandated benefit bills under consideration.  However, unlike nearly 25 other states, we have no process to evaluate these proposals for cost or medical efficacy.  Over the next few days and weeks, both houses may vote on additional mandates including mental health parity, child abuse investigations and early intervention.  Cumulatively, if enacted, these bills could account for hundreds of millions in additional premiums annually.  For premium payers already suffering from 10%-20% increases in premium this year, passage of any measure that exacerbates this trend is unconscionable.  We cannot afford this mandate or any other mandate this year.  

For all these reasons, the Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care urges you to vote NO on this legislation.

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Employer Alliance For Affordable Health Care

PO Box 1412

Albany, New York 12201-1412

(518) 462-2296

employeralliance@yahoo.com

www.employeralliance.com

Scott Miller, Chairman

6/2004