The Business Council opposes this legislation that would significantly expand mandated benefits provided in all group health policies related to women's health-care services. If enacted, such a mandate would raise the cost of health coverage in New York State and place employers at a competitive disadvantage with businesses in other states that have no comparable mandate.
Specifically, this bill would provide full coverage of annual mammograms from age 40 and older with no co-pays or deductibles permitted; it would prohibit co-pays and deductibles in annual gynecological checkups for women of all ages; and it would require all group health insurance contracts that include prescription drug coverage to include coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices.
These added services will undoubtedly raise the price of health coverage premiums, making coverage less affordable for women, men and their families. In addition, there is a lack of consensus in the medical community that annual mammograms for women in their 40's is even recommended.
Most small companies cannot afford to self-insure to escape the mandates. Therefore, the cost of the mandates tends to fall most heavily on those who can't escape them and those who can't afford them - the Mom and Pop operations, new businesses, small and local businesses. Two-thirds of those who are uninsured in New York either work for such employers or someone in the family does. The system of mandates is discouraging the very group of employers we most need to help offer insurance coverage.
As with the services required by other mandates, The Business Council does not have any problems with companies offering services as a benefit. What we oppose is the mandate that all health insurance policies offer this service whether the payer wants it or can afford it.
There are dozens of mandate bills under consideration by the legislature. It is impossible to expect the business community to pay for all of these added services. This bill is just one of the many that we will fight as long as they raise costs for the companies in New York State that can least afford to pay it.
For these reasons, The Business Council strongly opposes this legislation.