Gov. Kathy Hochul signed several pieces of legislation Wednesday aimed to protect New Yorkers from medicine price-gouging and financial consequences related to medical debt, the governor's office said.
One law prohibits the sale of medicine for an unconscionably excessive price throughout a drug shortage, which would be defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
One prohibits hospitals, health care professionals and ambulances from reporting 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 are three times more likely.
A third new law will require companies to notify customers of automatic subscription renewals and to provide clear instructions for canceling those services.
Another law will clarify that merchants must post the highest price a consumer might pay for a product, regardless of payment methods.
“As costs and inflation continue to creep up, consumer protection is one of the ways that our state is giving New Yorkers more purchasing power and keeping hard-earned money in their pockets,” Hochul said in a statement. “This legislation will help to protect individuals struggling with medical debt, unwanted subscriptions, and confusion over prices at the register. No one should have to jump through hoops to protect their finances and today we’re taking steps to help New Yorkers on their journeys toward financial freedom.”