While State lawmakers claim to want to make health care more affordable in New York, their budget proposals unfortunately do more harm than good. The Senate and Assembly one-house budgets include several proposals that will only increase the cost of health coverage for New Yorkers.
Hidden taxes include an Assembly proposal for a $40 million increase in the covered lives assessment (CLA). That would be on top of the $1.05 billion New Yorkers with private health insurance already pay the State under the CLA. This tax would shift responsibility for paying for Early Intervention services for developmentally delayed children that are currently covered by the State and localities.
Additionally, the Assembly is also proposing an 18% surcharge on certain health insurance companies – again, a tax on those with private coverage.
A reminder that New Yorkers with private health insurance already pay the State more than $5 billion in taxes every year. These taxes drive up premiums by 6-9%.
The Senate also proposes to mandate that telehealth services be paid the same rates as doctors’ office visits. For example, a five minute phone call, which may only lead to a scheduled office visit, will be paid the same rate as an office payment, including the amounts paid for overhead and infrastructure.
At a time when small businesses are struggling to simply remain afloat, the Legislature should avoid mandates and taxes which will unnecessarily increase the cost of health coverage.