Governor Kathy Hochul delivered her first State of the State of the State address on January 5, outlining her vision for the 2022 Legislative Session.
Hochul’s health care priorities include proposals to advance “health equity” by expanding coverage and increasing affordability for certain populations:
Making Health Care More Affordable to More New Yorkers
- Expand Essential Plan eligibility, raising the threshold from 200 percent of federal poverty line to at least 250 percent. That means a household of four with a household income up to $64,200 will have access to free health insurance.
Improving Access to Child Health Plus Insurance and Mental & Behavioral Health Services
- Eliminate the $9 premium for families between 160 and 222 percent of the federal poverty level – between $42,408 and $58,836 for a household of four.
- Align Child Health Plus benefits with Medicaid benefits, including mental health and substance use services, home- and community-based services, evidence-based treatment for individuals diagnosed with serious mental illness, and residential rehabilitation for youth.
Ensuring Vulnerable Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities Maintain Health Coverage
- Expand Medicaid eligibility so that low-income New Yorkers age 65 and up, as well as those with disabilities, are able to maintain Medicaid eligibility after they become eligible for Medicare.
Expanding Medicaid Coverage for Postpartum Care
- New York will follow the direction of the federal ARPA bill to provide Medicaid postpartum coverage for mothers up to 12 months. (current policy passed last year allows coverage up to six months)
Additionally, Governor Hochul wants to establish parity for telehealth services across commercial health insurance plans, and require insurers to provide up-to-date information in their provider directories about which providers offer telehealth services – and require providers to disclose and make publicly available the telehealth services they offer.