This week Governor Kathy Hochul introduced her first proposal of 2024, part of the State of the State. In Proposal 1, she offers several significant changes to New York’s laws and regulations under the Consumer Protection & Affordability Agenda.
Here’s a summary of the proposed changes:
Strengthening Consumer Protections:
- Expand consumer protection laws to include protections against unfair and abusive business practices. This is the most significant expansion of consumer laws since 1980.
- Enhance the Attorney General’s ability to enforce consumer protections.
- Provide the State additional tools to pursue bad actors in business.
Regulation of ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ Services:
- Require Buy Now Pay Later providers to obtain a license to operate in New York.
- Authorize the New York State Department of Financial Services to propose and issue regulations for this industry.
- Establish protections around disclosure requirements, dispute resolution, credit reporting standards, late fee limits, consumer data privacy, and guidelines to prevent debt accumulation and overextension.
Expanding Paid Medical and Disability Leave Benefits:
- Increase the maximum benefit for paid medical and disability leave, marking the first major increase since 1989.
- Tie the benefits to the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW).
- Phase in the changes over five (5) years to provide 67 percent of an employee’s average weekly wage, capped at 67 percent of the SAWW.
Eliminating Co-Pays for Insulin:
- Propose legislation to completely eliminate insulin cost-sharing.
- This would be the most expansive prohibition against insulin cost-sharing in the nation, estimated to save New Yorkers around $14 million in 2025.
Combating Medical Debt:
- Introduce legislation to update and expand New York’s hospital financial assistance law.
- Protect low-income New Yorkers from medical debt lawsuits by limiting hospitals’ ability to sue patients earning less than 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
- Expand hospital financial assistance programs.
- Limit the size of monthly payments and interest charged for medical debt.
- Implement other protections to improve access to financial assistance and mitigate the effects of medical debt.