BALCONY & American Cancer Society Urge Albany:
Back Health Insurance for Thousands of Young Adults

Community Rating should be preserved!
Extend COBRA to 36 Months.
Now is the time for Albany to step up on Health Reform.
Help young people get access to health insurance.
Assembly  A 8401  Senate 5469: Summary and Information

On October 27, 2008, BALCONY, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY, DEMOS, FREELANCERS UNION and NYU WAGNER ALUMNI ASSOCIATION held a special forum on the plight of uninsured New Yorkers in their 20's -- a group that includes more than 800,000 people, many of them working and/or living in New York without health insurance.

At that time, we issued a report, Young Adults In New York State, which concluded the following:

Providing health care for New York's 800,000 uninsured young adults is costing hundreds of millions of dollars a year as youths are utilizing hospital emergency rooms as their primary care physicians.  Furthermore, a profound human cost is incurred as the uninsured are vulnerable to potentially catastrophic medical hardships and, consequently, economic difficulties.  Young people have some of the greatest health needs, but have significantly reduced access to an adequate health system. They are faced to combat a system that is structurally and fiscally stacked against them. 

New York State and the federal government should give priority to developing an affordable choice for providing young adults with health insurance. Unfortunately, this issue is clouded by the current uncertain economic times

Additionally, this age group is twice as likely to be uninsured as are older New Yorkers, and amount to almost 1/3 of all those who are uninsured.  Many are just getting their start in the workforce or work for employers who do not offer health coverage.
Their alternative is to pay nearly $1,000 a month for an individual policy, or roll the that their youthful good luck will hold.
Governor Paterson has proposed legislation to address this problem that is now being debated in Albany.  There is broad support for the effort to address this problem.  But in his plan to create a relatively inexpensive insurance plan, Gov. Paterson has proposed a controversial move to break the state's strong community rating law, and create a special insurance category.

BALCONY and the American Cancer Society support the plan to protect the "young invincibles" by granting them the ability to obtain low cost health insurance. However, we urge the Governor and Legislature to modify the plan, maintain community rating, but create a special COBRA type extension that would allow young people to buy into their parent's employer-based coverage.  This would give them the advantage of the group rate, cutting premiums in half, to between $400 and $500 a month.  Employers would not pay.

In the meantime, Paterson calls for those young people earning less than 200% of the poverty level to be eligible for expanded Family Health Plus, already approved by the Legislature, and now awaiting a green light from the federal government.

BALCONY Supports COBRA Extension to 36 Months

S5471 Breslin   A8400 Peoples

BALCONY is urging support for the COBRA Law Amendment which will extend to three years the time that laid off workers can keep their existing health insurance.  At this time of econcomic dislocation, health insurance is a huge concern for people in this uncertain job market.  By moving from 18 to 36 months, this will offer families the option of some protection.  The bill passed the Assembly unanimously on June 2 and now awaits action in the Senate.  (S5471 Breslin/A8400 Peoples)

Call your Legislators now!
Assembly: (518) 455-4100  |  Senate: (518) 455-2800

633 Third Avenue, 16th Floor
New York, NY 10017
(212) 219-7777

Director, Lou Gordon:
Research Director, Adria Linehan:
BALCONY, the Business and Labor Coalition of New York, seeks common ground on public policy issues in New York State.  BALCONY represents more than 1000 businesses, labor unions, trade associations, and non profit organizations.
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