Senate Passes Bill Providing Farmers Greater Access To Family Health Plus

John J. Bonacic

June 11, 2007

State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) announced today that the Senate has approved legislation that would offer self-employed farmers greater access to the Family Health Plus insurance program by removing certain eligibility requirements.

"Access to health care is one of the most important issues for New Yorkers," stated Senator Bonacic. "Too many people are without health insurance in this State."

According to John Lincoln, President of the New York Farm Bureau, "Farming is a business that, by necessity, uses a large quantity of equipment and machines. As a result of a change in the Family Health Plus eligibility calculations, actual farm family income is not accurately reflected."

Senator Bonacic said that this legislation, Senate bill 1108, omits the eligibility requirement of including depreciation of farm business assets. This factor alone deprives many farm families of access to affordable health insurance such as Family Health Plus. When depreciated assets, such as tractors, combines, and spreaders are calculated as income, farmers are not eligible.

Senator Bonacic concluded, "This legislation simply makes sense. We should be doing all we can to provide as many people as possible access to quality health care including farm families. I was pleased to vote in favor of this bill and hopeful the Governor will sign it into law."