Senate Democratic Majority Passes Insurance Reforms To Help Save Lives

Andrea Stewart-Cousins

May 06, 2019

Albany, NY- The Senate Democratic Majority passed legislation today to improve New Yorkers access to preventative healthcare, treatment, and lifesaving medication. The bills passed by the Senate Majority include a bill requiring insurance coverage for eating disorder treatment and legislation that will protect people who carry Naloxone to prevent opioid overdoses from insurance discrimination.

“These are common-sense reforms that will improve access to the specific healthcare needs of countless individuals,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. “I commend Insurance Committee Chair Senator Neil Breslin, as well as bill sponsors Senator Biaggi and Senator Harckham for advancing these bills that will save New Yorkers’ lives.”

The insurance reforms advanced by the Senate Majority includes:

·         Coverage for Eating Disorders: This bill, S.3101, introduced by Senator Alessandra Biaggi, will require parity in insurance coverage for persons with eating disorders.

·         Preventing Insurance Discrimination for Naloxone: This bill, S.3159A, introduced by Senator Pete Harckham, Chair of the Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Committee, prohibits insurers from denying life insurance to individuals, often nurses and healthcare professionals, who have been prescribed medication used to block the effects of opioids.

Chair of the Senate Insurance Committee, Senator Neil Breslin said, “The Senate Democratic Conference is once again leading the effort to improve health insurance in New York State. These three important pieces of legislation simply put will save lives. By updating the definition of an eating disorder, as being done in Senator Biaggi's legislation (S.3101), more people will be able to receive the treatment they need and deserve. Senator Harckham's legislation will not allow the prescribing of Naloxone as the sole reason for denying life insurance. This will make Naloxone more available which can aid nurses, health care professionals and individuals in saving lives. I once again applaud Senators Biaggi and Harckham for their staunch advocacy on these important measures.”

Bill Sponsor, Senator Alessandra Biaggi said, “As a person who has lived with an eating disorder for fifteen years, I can say from experience that my disease is not black and white; eating disorders are complex, devastating conditions that can manifest differently depending on the person. And while recovery is possible, the cost of treatment often stands in the way. The purpose of this bill is to close the gap in healthcare coverage to include all iterations of eating disorders so that every New Yorker striving to overcome this disease – no matter what it looks like – can access the care they need.”

Bill Sponsor, Senator Pete Harckham said, “It’s discriminatory for insurers to penalize nurses and other medical personnel for carrying Naloxone to save lives. These professionals are obtaining prescriptions so they can save people overdosing on opioids, anywhere and anytime. We need to encourage more healthcare providers to carry Naloxone, not scare them off.”