Joe Mahoney

Joe Mahoney

Some 4.8 million New Yorkers are now getting their medical insurance coverage through NY State of Health, the state-run health plan Marketplace.

The program, since its inception in 2013, has resulted in the number of uninsured New Yorkers being reduced by 1.2 million people, state officials said.

Only 4.7 percent of New Yorkers remained uninsured in 2018, according to federal data.

To get coverage that will become effective in January, New Yorkers must enroll or renew their enrollment by December 15.

Officials said there will be no cost increases for nearly all Marketplace enrollees, including those getting coverage from Medicaid, Child Health Plus, the Essential Plan and qualified health plans.

Consumers can review their plan-shopping options and estimate their costs online or by phone, by calling the customer service center at 1-855-355-5777. The web site can be found at nystateofhealth.ny.gov

The enrollment period for 2020 opened Friday.

WATER CONTAMINATION

After a slew of public water quality debacles across the nation — among them pollution threats in Hoosick Falls, New York and Flint, Michigan — officials from the New York State Association of Counties have organized a webinar to educate county leaders on evolving regulations governing a group of industrial contaminants known as PFAS.

NYSAC says these “forever chemicals,” though no longer found in new products, pose a threat to drinking water supplies after building up in landfills. The chemicals accumulate in humans and have been linked to cancer and other diseases.

The webinar is slated to be offered Nov. 14. Check the NYSAC web site — www.nysac.org — for more information.

CIGARETTE WARS

While vaping products have been a prime target for regulators on the state and national front in recent weeks, a push is underway in New York to ban traditional menthol cigarettes and other flavored nicotine products.

Those leading the effort to stub out menthol cigarettes in New York are Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, D-Brooklyn, and Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan.

Hoylman has suggested smoking was a factor in his mother’s recent death from pulmonary disease. Bichotte, meanwhile, has pointed to high rates of menthol cigarette use among African-American smokers.

GUN VIOLENCE

Many of the bills dealing with gun violence in Albany deal with proposed restrictions on firearms.

Two Long Island Democrats, Sen. James Gaughran and Assemblyman Charles Lavine, take a different approach by introducing legislation that would offer legal recourse to families who lose a child to gun violence by allowing them to sue for compensation for grief and suffering.

“It will bring New York’s nearly 150-year-old wrongful death statute in line with the rest of the country and allow financial protections to grieving families,” Gaughran said in a statement.

Newsday reported that current New York law allows families involved in such grim circumstances to pursue only compensation for economic damages, while 41 other states allow wrongful death suits to seek non-economic damages.

Joe Mahoney covers the New York Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites. Reach him at jmahoney@cnhi.com.

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