June 18, 2015

Assembly Passes Legislation Extending Health Insurance Enrollment Period for Pregnant Women

The New York State Assembly announced the passage of legislation that would establish eligibility for a special enrollment period allowing pregnant women to enroll in health insurance policies in this state at any time (A6780-B, Simotas). Coverage would be effective the first of the month in which pregnancy is established.

"Access to health care should be a right. However, under our current system, many New Yorkers do not have the means to pay for coverage and are forced to prioritize other necessities over health insurance," said Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. "Pregnant women are no longer only responsible for their own health which can cause priorities to shift and the need for health care to be even greater. This bill would give pregnant women the opportunity to sign up for health insurance and gain access to the care they need."

Health insurance can make a substantial difference over the course of a woman's pregnancy both physically and financially. From routine checkups to dealing with complications, health care without insurance is outrageously expensive and completely unmanageable for many women. Providing access to coverage would allow women to choose what is best for themselves and their families.

"Today, New York State took a major step towards establishing access to prenatal care as a right for all women, regardless of income," said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, chair of the Task Force on Women's Issues and sponsor of the bill. "I know firsthand how important prenatal care is and I am so grateful to New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer for championing this issue. I applaud Assembly Insurance Committee Chair Kevin Cahill for his hard work in ensuring that women and children's health is not placed at the mercy of an arbitrary date on the calendar."