Launches Exchanges on
BALCONY /GNYCC FORUMS
HELD AT HOSPITALS AND SMALL BUSINESS EXPO
the midst of vicious partisan debates seeking to filibuster and overturn
the Affordable Care Act, BALCONY Director Lou
Gordon pointed out "there's a fear that the
Affordable Health Care Act will work and it will!" The ACA
means that nationally 33 million uninsured people, 2.6 million New
Yorkers, will be eligible for health insurance and will no longer
struggle with exorbitant health-care bills. This will ease the burden not
only on individuals, but also on taxpayers in general, as the uninsured
will no longer be dependent solely on the hospital emergency room as
their primary care physician.
York Chamber of Commerce's most
recent briefings on the ACA were held August 14th at Roosevelt
Hospital and at St. Luke's Hospital on July
24th. Another forum was staged at the GNYCC Expo on
September 18th at the New York Hilton. The informative workshops were
presented to more than 500 businesses were sponsored by BALCONY,
The Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, Continuum
Health Services, and Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freedman and
Herz LLP. The forums featured presentations by the New York
State of Health SHOP Coordinator Heather Rankin.
(PowerPoint Presentation by Heather Rankin)
(view as a PDF file)
On the eve of the implementation of the ACA, Community
HealthCare Network President & CEO and BALCONY Co-Chair Catherine
Abate appeared on New York 1 to offer her perspective.
"We want to educate the uninsured that there will be subsidies,
there will be advanceable premium credits, there will be cost-sharing
around co-pays and deductibles, and it will, at the end of the day, for
many of our patients, be quite affordable," said Abate.
"To fear the success of the ACA is to fear a country of healthier
citizens, better treatment for all, and an enormous overhaul of a
flailing health care system," said Gordon.
"The House of Representatives has tried to overturn the ACA at least
forty times and will continue to do so. Unfortunately it is viewed as a
political issue and not as a health care necessity that will help all
Voice Concern over ACA Impact on Self Funded Health Plans
At the same time, BALCONY is concerned that the ACA will
adversely impact self-funded union multi-employer plans of the Laborers,
Teamsters, Hotel Workers and the Building Trades the
ability of Taft Hartley unions to provide quality health care to their
President Terry O'Sullivan's Concerns Over ACA
The AFL-CIO wants multi-employer union health plans to have access to the
ACA's premium tax credits, and to be exempt from the various taxes and
fees now included in the ACA. Specifically, the AFL-CIO called for the
ACA excise tax, reinsurance fee and other fees to be eliminated for
collectively bargained plans, union-administered plans and other plans
that cover union-represented workers. (click here to read the AFL-CIO Convention Resolution on the Affordable Care Act).
Cuomo Announces 2014 Health Insurance Rates
Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a July News Release, highlighted the New York
health insurance carriers which are designated to provide coverage
under the New York State of Health.
The following companies have Department
of Financial Services-approved health insurance plan rates for
the health benefits exchange. The rates approved are subject to final
certification of the insurers' participation in the exchange.
Mark Jaffe, President of The
Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, is proud to be partnered with BALCONY
in providing more than thirty informative workshops to small businesses
in New York on The Affordable Care Act. "We believe
that educating people about the patient protections and the upcoming New
York State of Health is critical to its success."
the Roosevelt Hospital forum Brad Korn of
Continuum Health Services, which manages both hospitals,
asserted the importance of the ACA to the delivery of quality health care
for all New Yorkers. He reinforced Continuum's commitment to working
alongside BALCONY and the Greater New York
Chamber of Commerce, helping them to streamline and facilitate
access to information on the new plan.
began the forums by announcing the key benefits of the Affordable
affordable insurance for 33 million uninsured in the USA
portability of insurance coverage
the barrier of pre-existing conditions for coverage
the drug prescription donut hole for seniors
the cost of insurance between women and men
more than 3 million "young invincibles" up to the age of
26 to be covered by their parents' insurance even if they do not
live at home
tax credits for more than 360,000 businesses and more than $1
At the Roosevelt Hospital forum, Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, Chair of the
New York State Assembly Health Committee, opened with his
support of health care for all, while also referencing the many attempts
by the United States to achieve universal healthcare. From Franklin
Roosevelt to Harry Truman to Hilary Clinton, the nation has fought long
and hard for a healthcare program affordable to everyone. In fact,
Gottfried emphasized that he remains a strong supporter of the universal
health care modeled after the Medicare program.
New York State of Health
During all three forums, Heather Rankin with the Small
Business Marketplace, gave an overview of the NY State of Health, New York's
official health plan marketplace. She covered the options available to
small businesses and individuals who may seek health insurance coverage
through the NY State of Health Marketplace. She spoke about qualified
health plans, broker engagement, and other consumer assistance that will
be available, and directed the audience to the NY State of Health website where more information
As one of the first states
to administer the ACA, New York small businesses and individuals will be
able to see the options available to them and choose affordable coverage
suited to their needs beginning October 1, 2013.
Coverage through the NY State of Health will then begin on January
"Small businesses with 25 or fewer employees may be eligible for a
tax credit of up to 35% of what they contribute toward employee premiums.
This rate will increase to 50% in 2014. The Small Business Marketplace
offers full employer choice. Employers can select from among several
plans that best suits their employees' needs. There are four levels at
which qualified health plans are available: bronze, silver, gold, and
platinum," said Ms. Rankin.
We also learned that for the first time, benefits
under the ACA will include mental health and substance abuse. At the St.
Luke's and Roosevelt Hospital forums, NYC
Councilmember Gale Brewer highlighted mental health
as a key benefit, one that small businesses have never before been in a
position to provide. She stated, "Culturally, appropriate mental health
coverage should not be stigmatized". In addition to enabling mental
health coverage, the new law will encourage uninsured young people
"to recognize the value of prevention." She also recognized the
rarity of the BALCONY/GNYCC workshop, and its value in
informing and empowering the public.
Councilmember Robert Jackson re-iterated the value of affordable health care
for young people while speaking at the Roosevelt Hospital forum. He
referenced his own children as examples, specifically one who works in
the medical field, and how this new legislation provides additional
options for coverage.
At all three forums Suprina Berenyi,
BALCONY Director of Health and Wellness, raised
awareness of the importance of being conscious of health insurance and
adopting a personal lifestyle of "engaging in healthier behaviors,
such as wellness programs, which can reduce the risk of disease."
The program she offers focuses on conscientious nutrition, stress
reduction, and diabetes prevention. This sort of wellness program could
inoculate against the Cadillac tax levied on high-cost insurance in 2018.
Mark Rifkin, Partner at Wolf
Haldenstein Adler Freedman and Herz LLP, helped clarify the Health Insurance
Employer Mandate, which has recently been delayed by the
Department of Health and Human Services from January 1, 2014 to January
1, 2015. During the three forums, Rifkin discussed details of the
mandate, including the requirement that large businesses offer their
employees coverage, suffering penalties if they do not do so. He further
qualified the definitions of large employers as well as the ability for
employers to differentiate between salaried and hourly employees, between
employees working in both different entities and states.
implementing the mandate will have many challenges, attorney Rifkin
simplified its complex requirements by telling everyone to remember three
key numbers: 50, 60, and 9.5. Essentially, employers with 50 or
more employees must offer insurance coverage equivalent to the New York
State of Health's "bronze option," which covers about 60% of
health care costs, at a cost of no more than 9.5% of the employee's
household income for individual coverage.
BALCONY/GNYCC forums help to explain the ACA and its
many intricacies and benefits. The forums' spectrum of speakers provided
perspectives on the multiple issues of the ACA, representing business,
labor, elected officials, and the implementation of the ACA and its
impact on New York State. Questions are always welcomed, with further
details made available by contacting the panelists directly.
for the PDF version of the
Directory by Sector)
4 West 43rd Street, Suite 405
New York, NY 10036
Lou Gordon, Director
THE BUSINESS AND LABOR COALITION OF NEW YORK
Robert M. Hayes,
Co-Chair Business, Sr. VP, Universal American Corp.
Abate, Co-Chair Non-Profit, President/CEO, Community HealthCare Network
Executive Director, New York Labor Health Care Alliance
Kartalopoulos, Partner, Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP
DiBartolo, Tigress Financial Partners
BALCONY Treasurer; President, Greater New York Chamber of Commerce
Ventimiglia, Saratoga Capital Management
BALCONY Director of Special Projects
Brandenstein, BALCONY Events Consultant
BALCONY Writer & Researcher
Kevin R. Weaver,
Web Master and Computer Consultant
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makes no political endorsements nor campaign contributions.