April 29, 1999
Latest proposed health-care
mandate: infertility treatment
Assembly bill, other proposed mandates raise fear of cost hikes
A new Assembly bill that would require health-care insurers to provide coverage of infertility treatments has re-energized debate about health-care mandates and their effects on health-care costs.
The bill, sponsored by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, would mandate that any health insurance that covers hospital stays, surgical care, and medical care must also cover costs of diagnosis and treatments for infertility, including drug therapy, artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilization.
This bill joins many others that would mandate different kinds of health-care coverage. For example:
- "Mental health parity," under which insurers would be required by government to provide the same level of coverage for mental-health treatments that they provide for other medical treatments, has been proposed by Assemblyman James Brennan (D-Brooklyn) and Senator Thomas Libous (R-Broome County).
- Senator John Bonacic (R-Delaware County) and Assemblywoman Deborah Glick (D-New York City) have proposed mandating full coverage of annual mammograms without co-payments or deductibles, as well as full coverage, under prescription drug insurance, of contraceptive drugs and devices.
Many groups, including The Business Council, oppose health-care mandates because they increase costs of health insurance.
Last year, The Council joined other advocates for business, labor, local governments, and health insurers to urge lawmakers to impose a mora-orium on new health-care mandates, citing the alarming increase in the number of uninsured New Yorkers.