This is a battle between big insurance companies and hardworking New Yorkers who purchase premium health insurance policies only to find that they were stiffed with the bill during their time of need.

BREWSTER – (1/12/2012) – Imagine going to a hospital for emergency surgery after a near fatal car accident, and the surgeon who saved your life is not within your network of coverage. You’re not worried because you have a premium insurance policy provided by your employer. However, a few weeks later, you receive a letter in the mail telling you that you owe $90,000 for your surgery and your financial nightmare exceeds the pain of your initial accident. Unfortunately, for thousands of New Yorkers this “imaginary” situation is actually a reality.

This type of deceit by the health care insurance companies cannot be tolerated in New York.  We cannot allow working families to lose their homes, their personal savings and all of their life’s possessions because the insurance company they trusted and paid thousands of dollars to refuses to reimburse them for out of network health coverage. If we do not stop big insurance companies from stiffing policy holders, this unacceptable behavior will become the norm and cost New Yorkers billions of dollars a year in non-reimbursable out of network medical coverage.

According to the November 2011 case study “New York’s Unknown Health Insurance Crisis”, insurance companies are charging citizens higher premiums and New Yorkers are being forced to pay higher out of pocket expenses when attempting to see out of network doctors. This troubles me because the quality of care now becomes limited— limited by the ability to pay for premiums and the amount a consumer can afford to pay.

However, if you are willing and able to pay the additional costs for “out of network” coverage, then you should be able to get your treatment and not have to worry about a bill later on. After all, you have paid the cost for the additional coverage, right? Wrong. Mary Jerome of Yonkers was diagnosed with advanced stage ovarian cancer. Her primary, in-network, care physician advised her to go to Sloan-Kettering, which is  one of the best treatment centers for cancer in the country. However, they were out of Mary’s coverage network. Even though Mary had already paid the additional cost for the out of network coverage, she was left with $50,000 in medical bills. This deceptive practice is all too common with insurance companies, leaving New Yorkers with exorbitant costs after treatment they, the patient, thought was covered.

It’s time for the deceit and intimidation to stop! My bill (S5068/A5068) will end the scam and fear associated with dealing with insurance companies.

Not only are New Yorkers being exploited by big insurance, highly trained and experienced medical specialist such as neurosurgeons, heart surgeons, and other life saving health specialists are leaving New York in droves because the reduced reimbursement rate will not even allow these specialists to pay new York’s expensive liability coverage. We are at risk of losing access to high-quality, specialist medical care if we do not stop big insurance companies’ deceitful practices.

My bill is a step in the right direction to halt the unfair practices of big insurance. In order to successfully pass this bill, I need all New Yorkers to contact their Legislators and tell them it’s time our state government stopped allowing insurance companies to use and abuse the citizens of New York.

For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, Contact Brittany Oat (845) 200-9716.


About Greg Ball

Assemblyman Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) is the Senator for New York State's 40th district. A former Vice President of Exceed International Development Corporation, Ball holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the United States Air Force Academy, is currently completing his Masters Thesis of Liberal Studies in International Affairs at Georgetown University, and received an honorable discharge in 2005 at the rank of Captain after service as an active duty officer in the United States Air Force. View all posts by Greg Ball →
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