Annette M. Robinson
Laid-off New Yorkers can continue to purchase health insurance from their former employer’s
plan for 36 months—up from 18 months—under a new COBRA law. Without COBRA, buying
insurance on the open market would cost over twice as much (Ch. 236 of 2009).
Additionally, eligible New Yorkers who lost their job between Sept. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009,
may be eligible for a 65 percent subsidy in COBRA premiums for nine months. This is a federal
change to COBRA, funded by the stimulus package.
Starting Sept. 1, 2009, New York parents can cover unmarried children up to age 29 who aren’t
eligible for Medicare or employer-provided coverage (Ch. 240 of 2009). Previously, coverage ended
at age 19 or when the child, up to age 23, graduated from college. In some rare cases college
students were covered up to age 25.
Under the new law, families, rather than the employer, may have to pay the premiums, but the
rates are much cheaper than an individual plan. These young adults who were dropped from their
family insurance plans account for 31 percent of uninsured New Yorkers.
The protections will:
• Prohibit insurers from treating an in-network provider as out-of-network just
because the referring provider was out-of-network (Effective January 1, 2010)
• Require consumers in “HMO look-alike” plans—such as a Preferred Provider
Organization plan (PPO)—receive certain health maintenance organization protections
(Effective January 1, 2011)
• Require insurers to quickly review post-hospital home health care requests
and cover services until a coverage decision is made (Effective January 1, 2010)
• Provide consumers with rare diseases with the right to an external appeals
process (Effective January 1, 2010)
“These new laws make it cheaper and easier to obtain health insurance, and bring peace of mind along
with it. Every person, at every age, has the right to quality health care, and I’ll continue to fight until every
New Yorker is covered.” – Assemblywoman Robinson
The fact that 2.5 million New Yorkers are uninsured — risking their health or facing monumental medical
bills — is something that needs to change. Several new laws Assemblywoman Robinson supported will make
health insurance more accessible and affordable.