Logo, The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care - Health Care Advocacy Group

Press Release


Date: June 21, 2010
Contact:Pamela Reese Finch


Autism Mandate Increases Premiums by another 2%


ALBANY – In direct contradiction to their previous claims of wanting to control small business health insurance costs, the Legislature took a direct and deliberate step toward increasing small business health insurance premiums when the Assembly passed S.7000-B (Breslin) /A10372-A (Morelle) to expand private health insurance coverage of conditions related to Autism Spectrum Disorder.

“Once again, the State Legislature has failed to abide by its own rules, instead taking a deliberate step toward increasing private health insurance costs while leaving larger, self-insured companies unscathed,” said Pamela Reese Finch, executive director of the Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care. “New York’s small business community has repeatedly cited the need for basic, affordable health insurance as their top business concern, and yet, the Legislature continues to pursue a course of action that deliberately increases private insurance premiums.”

Today’s mandate comes on the heels of several other proposals that will impact 20100 premiums, including the Governor’s budget proposal expands the scope of the Patient Services Assessment under HCRA, eliminates the small business subsidy for Timothy’s Law and shifts early intervention costs from county taxpayers onto private insurance.

Lawmakers deliberately circumvented their own process which calls for vetting of such bills before the Health Care Quality and Cost Containment Commission. While supporters claimed this measure would “only” increase premiums by another “1 or 2%,” a similar measure in Pennsylvania shows that expanded autism coverage could increase private health insurance costs by as much as 6%.

Health insurance mandates expand the basic fully-insured policy while also increasing costs. They do not impact larger businesses that can self-insure. The Council for Affordable Health Insurance ranks New York State among the top 10 most heavily mandated states in the national. Collectively, New York’s mandated benefits now cost fully-insured policy holders 14.2%, ($659 for individual coverage $1,822 for family coverage based on 2008 premium costs).

The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care is a coalition of more than 3,400 employers and individuals from across New York, representing more than 200,000 working New Yorkers, committed to preserving quality affordable health care.