As the debate continues to rage in New York State and across the nation on the best way to aid uninsured workers, State Senator George Onorato (D-Queens) is continuing to push his legislation (S3474) that would expand health insurance coverage for many of the state’s part-time employees.
"In New York State alone, approximately three million people lack health insurance," said Senator Onorato, the rankingMinority member of the Senate Insurance Committee. "Ultimately, this exacts a price from all of us -- whether it comes in the form of increased costs to our health care system, or in the form of increased human suffering by people who can’t afford a doctor’s care when they’re sick. While New York has been working with some success to increase access to health insurance for its residents, I think we can do more."
Under Senator Onorato’s legislation, businesses with 26 or more employees would be required to offer pro-rated health insurance benefits for part-time workers if they already provide coverage to their full-time employees. For example, if a part-time employee works 20 hours a week, and a full-time employee works 40 hours a week, the employer would offer the part-time employee health insurance and pay 50 percent of the premium the company already pays to cover its full-time employees. The remaining 50 percent of the premium would be paid by the part-time employee.
"While we clearly won’t be able to solve the problem of our uninsured residents overnight, I think my legislation would help to provide at least part of a safety net for working New Yorkers who may be most in need of health coverage," said Senator Onorato. "Many New Yorkers with full-time jobs are having trouble making ends meet, and those with part-time work face even greater challenges. In the end, a person’s ability to obtain potentially life-saving health care shouldn’t be solely determined by the number of hours spent on the job."
The Senator’s legislation is currently under consideration by the Senate Labor Committee.