The Business Council opposes this legislation that would mandate that all group health insurance policies provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. This mandate would raise the cost of health insurance in New York State.
National studies on infertility mandates have estimated the impact on premiums to be 3 percent to 5 percent. This added cost is on top of general rising costs of coverage, making coverage less affordable for many employers and placing them at a competitive disadvantage with businesses from other states who don't face this added cost.
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.
Even the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law recognized there are limits to what employers and employees can afford in their health benefit packages when it recommended against this type of mandate. "As a society," it concluded, "our first goal must be to expand benefits that take into account a broad range of health care needs. We simply cannot justify legislation giving special priority to assisted reproduction when so many other basic health care needs remain unmet."
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 payor 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 oppose 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 opposes this legislation.