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N.Y. hospital surcharge extension signed into law


ALBANY, N.Y.--Legislation signed into law by Gov. Eliot Spitzer extends through the end of next year a 1996 New York law that adds hundreds of million of dollars to employers' health care bills.

That law, which was to expire on June 30, imposes an 8.95% surcharge on bills incurred in hospitals in the state. The surcharge, added to patient charges, is used to help fund indigent care.

The law also continues a state pool used to fund, among other things, graduate medical education. The pool is funded by a covered-lives assessment on employers with employees living in New York state.

The exact amount of the assessment is set each year by the New York State Department of Health and is based on where a company's employees reside.

For example, the 2007 assessment for an employee living in the Utica, N.Y., area and opting for individual coverage is $6.34, while the assessment for an employee living in New York City and opting for family coverage is $500.83.