Governor Hochul Signs Four New Laws to Protect Consumers from Price Gouging, Medical Debt and Unfair Business Practices

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Legislation S.4907A/A.6275A prohibits hospitals, health care professionals and ambulances from reporting an individual’s medical debt to credit agencies.

According to a 2023 study from the Urban Institute, 740,000 New Yorkers have medical debt on their credit reports with people of color twice as likely to have medical debt referred to a credit bureau and low-income people three times more likely. By prohibiting hospitals, health care professionals, and certified ambulances from reporting medical debt to credit agencies, this legislation will make it easier for New Yorkers to get jobs, secure credit, rent an apartment, pay for their children’s education and build long-term wealth.

State Senator Gustavo Rivera said, “I am so grateful to Governor Hochul and our coalition for standing together to relieve New Yorkers from the burden of medical debt’s impact on credit reports. The Fair Medical Debt Reporting Act will stop medical debt from damaging patients’ financial stability and mitigate the fear of seeking medical care due to cost in our most vulnerable communities. I look forward to working together to eradicate medical debt and ensure quality, affordable healthcare for every New Yorker.”

Assemblymember Amy Paulin said, “Today is a victory for New Yorkers with the signing into law of three of my consumer protection bills. Legislation S.4907A/A.6275A addresses the immense problem of medical debt affecting thousands of New Yorkers. This new law will prohibit medical debt from being collected or reported by a consumer reporting agency. We must protect patients from being punished for doing the right thing: taking care of their family member’s physical and mental health.”

State Health Commissioner Dr. James V. McDonald said, “Governor Hochul’s actions prohibit medical debt from being collected from a consumer protection agency or included as a part of a consumer report, which has disproportionately affected older New Yorkers and persons of color. This legislation addresses the toll medical debt has taken on individuals’ financial security and is a significant step toward protecting all New Yorkers from medical debt and providing them the financial freedom they deserve.”

AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel said, “This new law will remove obstacles to New Yorkers’ ability to buy homes, get loans or save for retirement. No one should risk putting their financial future in jeopardy by getting the medical care they need, and AARP New York applauds Governor Hochul for signing this bill. Prohibiting medical providers from sending medical debt to credit reporting agencies will especially help older New Yorkers, whose income often decreases while their medical expenses increase – and whose numbers are growing fast. Plus, older Black and Hispanic/Latino families face much higher debt burdens than older white families. We thank bill sponsors Senator Gustavo Rivera and Assembly Member Amy Paulin and their respective houses for passing this legislation earlier this year and making this new law possible.”

Community Service Society of New York President and CEO David R. Jones said, “Governor Hochul has shown tremendous leadership in tackling the state’s medical debt crisis, having enacted four bills into law in the past two years, including legislation banning healthcare providers from placing liens on patients’ homes and garnishing their wages in medical debt collection cases. By signing the Fair Medical Debt Reporting Act today, the governor is making it clear that protecting New Yorkers from predatory medical debt collection practices that can cause financial ruin for consumers continues to be a priority for her Administration.”

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