Twenty members of the state Senate in a letter to New York's congressional delegation pushed for an extension of health care subsidies under the federal COVID relief package set to expire at the end of the year.
If the subsidies lapse, New York officials fear tens of thousands of people in New York would either lose health care coverage or face steep increases in cost.
"Without additional federal action, these subsidies will end at the close of the current calendar year and will likely cause a significant increase in the premium rates being paid by individuals that were eligible," the lawmakers wrote in the letter sent this week.
In an interview, Senate Health Committee Chairman Gustavo Rivera, whose office coordinated the letter, said Congress needs to act quickly given the looming enrollment period in November.
"The bottom line is we could be seeing a big spike in insurance coverage for many families in the state of New York — up to 100,000 people. We sent the letter to the delegation so they pay attention to it and try to make sure it doesn't go away," Rivera said. "The impact this could have for New York families could be severe."
The money was provided through the American Rescue Plan, which provided funds for an expanded pool of people to obtain health insurance during the COVID pandemic.
A report released earlier this month by the state Department of Health's insurance marketplace found the expiring funds could lead to additional costs of up to $1,450 a year. Many of the people affected would be in low-income households and communities of color.
Rivera added it's up to the federal government to act given the state budget is not due until the end of March.
"We still have a few months," he said. "We're imploring our federal delegation to not forget about it."