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N.Y. expands low-cost health care eligibility


ALBANY, N.Y.--New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has signed legislation to expand the state's low-cost Family Health Plus insurance program to private employers and Taft-Hartley funds as of July 1.

Previously, the program was only available to New York residents who met certain income eligibility requirements and who lacked other health care coverage.

Employers that opt into the program will be required to pay 70% of the cost of their employees' individual and/or dependent coverage. Employees will be required to pay the balance.

Although the governor's office did not provide an estimate of the number of eligible employees likely to participate in the expanded Family Health Plus program, the state estimates it will cost taxpayers approximately $106 million a year to subsidize enrollees' premiums.

The plan currently has 513,000 New York residents enrolled. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 14% of the state's 19 million residents lack health care coverage.