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

Date:  February 7, 2006

 

Bill:     S.1316 (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.

 

The 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.

 

Mandating 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

PO Box 1412

Albany, New York 12201-1412

(518) 462-2296

employeralliance@yahoo.com

www.employeralliance.com

 

Scott Miller, Chairman

 

2/2007