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Health insurance bill to benefit N.Y. bizzers

Bill to give coin for payment of up to 50% of COBRA plan

HOLLYWOOD — New York lawmakers have approved a state health insurance continuation assistance program aimed at laid-off workers and periodically employed entertainment performers.

Bill, which backers expect Gov. George Pataki to sign, will provide a subsidy for the payment of up to 50% of the COBRA continuation premium for a 12-month period. Eligibility will be based on an individual earning less than 2.5 times the poverty level.

Soaring health care costs have forced the SAG and AFTRA health plans to boost eligibility and cut benefits this year.

Cynthia Vance, chair of SAG’s New York legislative committee, said, “Our health plans are facing tough times, and the eligibility change has had a dire impact on many of us. This legislation comes just in time.”

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