New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a new bill into law allowing pregnant women to gain access to health care at any time, eliminating the previous requirement that they wait for open enrollment periods to purchase health insurance. New York is the first state in the country include pregnancy as a “qualifying event” for health insurance enrollment.

The law, signed by Governor Cuomo on December 22, adds pregnancy to the list of “qualifying events” established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that permit individuals to enroll in health care plans through the New York State of Health marketplace outside of designated open enrollment times. Other qualifying events established by the ACA include marriage, divorce, loss of other coverage, and childbirth.

According to a 2015 report released by New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, including pregnancy as a qualifying event will result in greater access to prenatal care, strengthening public health and potentially leading to long-term cost benefits to both individuals and New York’s health care system.

Additionally, Governor Cuomo is currently considering introducing a bill that will provide 12 weeks of paid family leave to New York workers. This announcement comes after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last month released plans for a new measure to give city workers 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

Media Resources: PBS 12/23/15, NYC Comptroller Report March 2015; New York Post 1/3/16; WNYC News 12/22/15

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