The New York state Senate power struggle between Democrats and Republicans for leadership of the body is threatening to hold up several insurance bills.
As of June 24, the battle continues with Governor David Paterson calling an emergency session and promising to continue doing so until the impasse is broken. After a defection of two Democratic state senators to the Republican party and then the return of one, the Chamber is tied at 31-31. Efforts to create joint leadership are currently failing. The Governor is threatening to go to court to get action if the Senate is not back in session on June 25.
Among the bills that are on hold and potentially in danger is a Life Settlement bill that developed by the New York insurance department. The New York state assembly has passed A 7131, sponsored by Assembly insurance committee chairman Joe Morelle, D-132nd A.D.
Other bills that are on hold until the feud is settled are:
--a package of four bills introduced by the Governor that will (1) extend the period of time for the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) coverage from 18 to 36 months; (2) permit families to cover their young adult dependents through age 29 under their job-based insurance; (3) require health insurers to get approval from the Superintendent of Insurance before increasing premium rates; and (4) enact a series of managed care reforms to protect the ability of consumers who have health insurance to timely access necessary health services.
Among the provisions this package include is the reduction of a prompt-pay time frame from 45 days to 15 days for electronically submitted claims so doctors and hospitals are paid more quickly and the prior approval of health insurance rates instead of the current “file and use” system in which premium rate increases do not have to first be justified to the New York Insurance Department.
The Governor’s bill is considered important for young adults because the 19-29 age group represents 31% of uninsured New Yorkers, according to a statement from the Governor’s office.