Date: February 7, 2006
(Farley) - An act to amend the Insurance Law, in relation to providing coverage for hospice care under the Healthy New York program.
The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care,
a coalition of nearly 3,500 New York employers committed to keeping
health insurance in New York affordable, supports a moratorium on all
health insurance mandates. Mandates increase the cost of premiums and,
in turn, the number of uninsured. This proposal seeks to add hospice
services to the Healthy New York benefit package. We oppose this measure
because it is contrary to the intent of this laudable subsidy program
and will trigger more New Yorkers with no insurance coverage at all.
The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care
is an enthusiastic supporter of Healthy New York. The goal of this
product is lower premiums through aggressive stop-loss subsidies and an elimination of certain mandated benefits.
While compassionate, mandating hospice coverage on Healthy New York
subscribers is particularly odd, since hospice is appropriately only
required to be “made available” on commercial products. Equally
troubling is a 2004 RAND Corporation study that determined that patients
choosing hospice care cost the federal Medicare system 4% higher than
similar patients using only traditional medical care.
Employer Alliance believes that providing premium payers greater choice
in benefit packages (like those offered by Healthy New York) is
critical to keeping people insured. Unfortunately, because New York has
more than 30 mandated benefits – even a “stripped down” policy in New
York includes a wide range of mandated benefits that in the aggregate,
cost more than $1,200 per employee (family coverage) annually. Changes
to Healthy New York in 2004 addressed some of the shortcomings of the
program further lowering premiums by increasing the stop-loss subsidy
and reducing prescription benefits. These alterations triggered a
significant increase in enrollment in Healthy New York. Proposals like
S.1316 will serve to reverse these important gains ultimately leaving
New York with more uninsured.
a new benefit to the Healthy New York package – no matter how suitable -
is counter to the intent of the program. Instead of advocating for this
legislation, the Employer Alliance urges legislators to
eliminate other mandated benefits on commercial products and Health New
York alike to further help reduce the cost and expand access.
For all these reasons, we urge you to vote NO on S.1316.
Employer Alliance For
Affordable Health Care
New York 12201-1412
Scott Miller, Chairman