Even though President Barack Obama kept his promises for health care reform, New York State governmental officials have yet to follow suit. Change in health care is underway with a new bill in the works that will greatly quiet New York residents’ worries regarding insufficient health care coverage.

Assemblyman Eric Stevenson (D-Bronx) is sponsoring a new law that would modify New York State laws to be in compliance with the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama over a year ago, in March 2010. The bill passed the Senate and is awaiting Governor Cuomo’s signature to become law.

“In these difficult economic times, hardworking New York families have had to sacrifice many important things,” Stevenson said. “This measure will help ensure that our families have access to the necessary resources they need to maintain their health and well-being.”

The Act established consumer protections and mandated benefit requirements applicable to health insurance policies issued or renewed on or after Sept. 23, 2010, such as coverage of children up to age 26 regardless of financial dependency, residency, student status or employment, prohibiting pre-existing condition exclusions for children up to age 19, granting direct access to obstetric and gynecologic services and choice of primary care physician, and coverage of out-of-network emergency services without pre-authorization.

The Act also allows internal and external appeals, prohibitions on the dollar amount of lifetime and annual limits with respect to essential health benefits, and permitting rescissions only for fraud or intentional misrepresentation of material fact.

“Affordable, high-quality health care is a right, not a privilege,” Stevenson said. “That’s why I authored this bill-it will put New Yorkers in control of their health care, and it will help uphold health insurance companies’ integrity by establishing clear regulations that they must abide by.”

Stevenson’s bill will modify New York State laws by ensuring that they are in compliance with all parts of the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In addition to the provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act, Stevenson’s modifications will align coverage for preventive care with federal guidelines, preventing co-payments or deductibles from being charged for preventive care including breast and cervical cancer screenings, vital immunizations, pre- and post-natal care, and bone mineral density measurements.

“Health care should never be sacrificed,” Stevenson concluded. “We must provide beneficial health care to all New Yorkers.”