BILL NUMBER: S280
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the social services law, in relation to the
determination of eligibility for the family health plus program for
To provide self-employed individuals with greater access to the Family
Health Plus program, by removing depreciation of business assets from
income eligibility calculations.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :
The Social Services Law is amended as follows: Section 1. Subdivision
2 of section 369-ee of the social services law is amended by adding a
new paragraph (d) to extract depreciated business assets from gross
family income for the purposes of Family Health Plus program. This
amendment will only apply if all necessary approvals under federal law
have been met.
New York has made great advances in providing residents with quality
health care at an affordable price. Successful programs like Child
Health Plus and Family Health Plus have helped many families afford
health insurance and better access to needed health care. However,
barriers to program access arise in certain circumstances surrounding
the Family Health Plus program and depreciation of business related
assets for self-employed individuals.
Currently, when a family applies for insurance through the Family
Health Plus program, the family income must be below a certain
threshold (150 percent of the federal poverty level) for eligibility.
Many families who are self-employed seemingly meet this threshold, yet
are prevented from accessing the program, as the family income, as
stated on the program application forms, is required to include
depreciation of business assets.
One segment of the self employed population is especially hard hit by
this. Farmers, by nature of their land and equipment-intensive
business, must purchase expensive farm machinery on an ongoing basis,
and most times add the cost of such machinery to their already
considerable farm debt load. As a result, depreciation of such
machinery, including tractors, combines and spreaders, is customary in
the farm business. While inclusion of depreciation in income
calculations may provide indications regarding the extent of farm
machinery owed for necessary farm operation, it does not help to
accurately reflect actual farm family income.
For example, a farm family of four may be living on approximately
$22,000 in actual annual farm income, and thus seemingly would be
eligible for Family Health Plus. However, when depreciation of farm
machinery is included in the family income, the same family could
appear to be making $90,000 a year and be prevented from access to the
Family Health Plus program. As a result, steps must be taken to
facilitate access to the Family Health Plus program for families in
these circumstances. This is also evident in many self-employed
This legislation is a follow-up to Chapter 101 of the Laws of 2007
which applied only to farm families, but because the federal Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) believed that the farm-only
waiver enacted by New York State was too narrowly drafted, we have
redrafted the proposal in order to broaden the scope of the
legislation to address CMS's concerns.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
2008: S.7472/A.10800 Reilly Veto
Similar legislation was chaptered in 2007 (Chapter 101), but failed to
receive the necessary federal waiver.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all
determinations made on or after such effective date.