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N.Y. Lawmakers Advance Bills To Protect Against Employer Discrimination, Make Pregnancy a Qualifying Life Event

N.Y. Lawmakers Advance Bills To Protect Against Employer Discrimination, Make Pregnancy a Qualifying Life Event

June 19, 2015 — The New York Assembly and Senate on Wednesday approved legislation (A 7836-A, S 5548-A) that would classify pregnancy as a qualifying life event to purchase health coverage on or off of New York's insurance marketplace outside of the open enrollment period, the AP/Miami Herald reports.

If signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), the measure would go into effect in 2016 (AP/Miami Herald, 6/17).

Background

The Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) permits individuals to purchase health insurance outside of the standard open enrollment period if they have certain "qualifying life events." Currently, the list of qualifying events includes marriage, the loss of employer-sponsored coverage and childbirth (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/8).

Family Planning Advocates of New York State said the measure could make New York the first state to cover pregnancy as a qualifying life event. According to FPANYS, the measure would make coverage retroactive through the beginning of the month when the pregnancy is first detected (AP/Miami Herald, 6/17).

Meanwhile, the California Assembly this month also approved a bill classifying pregnancy as a qualifying life event under the state's insurance marketplace (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/8).

N.Y. Assembly Passes 'Boss Bill'

In related news, the New York State Assembly on Tuesday passed a bill (A 1142-A) prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees for their reproductive health decisions, Long Island Exchange reports. The measure, known as the "Boss Bill," now moves to the state Senate. However, the companion state Senate measure (S 2709-A), proposed by state Sen. Liz Krueger (D), has not yet advanced.

FPANYS commended the bill's passage and called on the state Senate to approve the measure. Interim FPANYS CEO Carol Blowers said, "Reproductive health care decisions should be made by a woman and her medical provider, not politicians or employers. The Boss Bill protects an individual's right to access basic health care without outside interference" (Long Island Exchange, 6/17).