The Business Council of New York State opposes S.5340 (Larkin) / A.6798 (Weisenberg), which imposes yet another cost mandate on New York’s employers. This legislation would require insurers to provide reimbursement for anesthesia and hospital charges related to dental care for any person who: (a) is under eighteen years of age; (b) is severely disabled; or (c) has a medical condition that requires general anesthesia or hospitalization for the provision of dental services.
Insurance Law currently excludes dental care, except when related to accidental injury or the treatment of congenital defects. This single provision dramatically increases the scope of health insurance coverage in the State for all people less than eighteen years of age. The bill’s excessively broad language does not even require the presence of a medical condition or disability necessitating the use of anesthesia be demonstrated to trigger the coverage for any minor.
This bill would impose another unfunded mandate whose cost will be borne solely by those with coverage in the commercial market. Insurance mandates drive up costs for all employer-sponsored plans, and those in the small group, community-rated market are hit the hardest.
In 2007 the Legislature created the New York State Health Care Quality and Cost Containment Commission, which was charged with analyzing the impact on health-insurance costs of proposed legislation that mandates health benefits be offered or made available in individual and group health-insurance policies, contracts and comprehensive health service plans. The Commission was also directed to study the delivery of health benefits or services and the reimbursement of health care providers.
Unfortunately, this Commission has yet to be appointed or meet. Any discussion of additional coverage mandates should be held in abeyance until such time as the Commission is functioning and cost/benefit analysis and reports can be conducted.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes approval of S.5340 (Larkin) / A.6798 (Weisenberg).