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

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT

Bill:     S.1372/A.6193 -­ An Act to amend the insurance law and the legislative law in relation to creating the New York Health Benefit and Cost Commission.

The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care is a grassroots coalition of more than 2,300 employers and individuals committed to keeping health care in New York affordable. S.1372/A.6193 seeks to establish a more rational approach to legislating health insurance mandates by creating the New York Health Benefit and Cost Commission that in part would provide the Legislature with cost/efficacy studies for health insurance mandate proposals prior to legislative consideration. We enthusiastically support its passage.

Affordable health insurance continues to be a critical concern for businesses statewide, especially for small business owners. Recent surveys sponsored by the Business Council, NFIB and others have concurred that health care costs are the leading concern for small business in New York. Contributing to increased health insurance costs are state mandated services and benefits. The burden of health insurance mandates falls predominately on small businesses and the self-employed - because many large companies can take advantage of moving to self-insurance and escape state benefit requirements. How costly are mandates in New York? The Employer Alliance released a landmark study in 2003, which concluded that mandated benefits in New York cost every policyholder 12.2% of premium - or more than $1,000 for a family policy. With health care costs rising well above the rate of inflation the past four years, its no wonder that maintaining health insurance costs has surpassed business taxes as a small business’ leading concern.

The need for this legislation is critical. Some employers have been fortunate and can absorb these costs - but others are forced to either pass these costs onto employees in the form of lower wages or higher health insurance contributions. Unfortunately, still others are faced with prospect of dropping health insurance altogether. For the more than three million New Yorkers with no health care coverage - the prospect of being able to find affordable coverage is growing more remote. We believe that the first step to keeping coverage affordable is to pass mandate relief legislation. This will ensure that any mandate passed in this state will not undermine efforts being made to expand insurance coverage opportunities.

Health insurance mandate commissions as envisioned under this legislation are not a new concept. Nearly 25 states including our immediate neighbors Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont and most recently Massachusetts require a cost/efficacy analysis for health insurance mandate bills. The goal of S.1372/A.6193 is to ensure that lawmakers have the information necessary to ascertain the value of each mandate proposal and determine the appropriateness of legislating such coverage. For businesses struggling to maintain coverage, this proposal is long overdue.

Never has the need for this legislation been more critical. Vote YES on S.1372/A.6193. 

Employer Alliance For Affordable Health Care

PO Box 1412

Albany, New York 12201-1412

(518) 462-2296

employeralliance@yahoo.com

www.employeralliance.com

Jeff Leland, Chairman

3/2005 

XX