Joe Robach and the New York State Senate passed legislation to reduce costly and unexpected medical charges to health insurance consumers. The bill, supported by Joe Robach, establishes consumer protections to prevent surprise medical bills and ensures seniors have adequate access to necessary services.

Joe Roach knows that surprise medical bills result from a variety of insurance billing practices and are particularly pronounced in the emergency care setting which can really affect seniors. A 2012 report by the state Department of Financial Services detailed several incidents when patients who performed their due diligence in scheduling procedures with in-network providers later, and without the patient’s knowledge, had a non-network provider, specialist, or supporting staff perform or assist in the procedure. Instead of the expected insurance co-payment, the unexpected non-network charges often resulted in thousands of dollars.

In one case, a patient was surprised with a bill for $2,800 for half-an-hour of anesthesia provided by an out-of-network anesthesiologist during a routine colonoscopy provided by a participating provider.

Joe Robach knows that surprise bills can really impact seniors bottom lines and this is why he supports this important legislation.  The bill has been sent to the Assembly.


Joe Robach Helps Secure Funding for Hospitals and Nursing Homes to Aid Seniors

State Senator Joe Robach and the New York State Senate have recently helped secure roughly $11.2 million in grants to  hospitals and nursing homes in the Capital Region.  The entire objective of the grants is to improve patient care, reduce costs, and ensure that all New Yorkers have access a better quality of treatment than is currently available.

With such a large amount of money for a grant, roughly 40 hospitals and nursing homes will benefit. Senator Joe Robach has always been committed to providing seniors with the best possible health care options, at the most affordable price.  The grants to both hospitals and nursing homes,will help New York State implement recommendations which have been made from our Governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team, including enabling health care organizations to deliver more efficient, higher quality care through merging, restructuring and realigning many different divisions.

Senator Joe Robach has a history of working with different Governors, and with the other side of the aisle, to make sure that money which is being allocated to benefit seniors, has been used in the most effective, and efficient way.  The grant money in which Senator Robach just helped secure, will help in the conversion of hospital inpatient space to outpatient and ambulatory care and inpatient nursing home capacity to other less-restrictive forms of long term care. 

Like any region in New York State, Monroe County has been hit hard with the ever increasing costs of insurance and medicine.  Senator Joe Robach knows the burden is even heavier on seniors and will continue to work with both sides of the aisle to ensure that everything that can be done for seniors, is being done.  The New York State Senate also recently helped secure enough funding for the senior prescription drug program EPIC, which has been reinstated in the 2012-2013 budget.  EPIC is a program to aid lower-income New Yorkers with their costs of prescription drugs.


Joe Robach and the New York State Senate passed legislation to simplify the process for senior citizens and other qualifying homeowners to apply for and receive their STAR property tax exemption. 

S1924 would eliminate the requirement that senior citizens reapply for the STAR property tax exemption every year.  Joe Robach knows that senior citizens are currently required to reapply annually for a senior citizens’ real property tax exemption, which is both unnecessary and cumbersome.  This bill will place the responsibility for checking income requirements on the taxing authority, instead of making seniors prove their eligibility every year.  Joe Robach believes that by relieving seniors of this burden, they can more effectively budget, control and determine their financial futures.
S3576 would enable local tax assessors to accept late applications for all exemptions without penalty up to the last day that a taxpayer can pay the first half of their taxes.  This legislation eliminates confusing exceptions in the real property tax law and enables taxpayers to receive every bit of tax relief of which they are eligible.

Both bills will be sent to the Assembly.


Joe Robach and the NYS Senate recently passed legislation that would restore the STAR property tax rebate program for seniors and taxpayers. S7447, supported by Joe Robach, would provide $202 million in property tax relief to senior citizens in the 2012-13 school year and $1.2 billion in property tax relief to middle class families starting in 2013-14.
Property taxpayers saved an estimated $456 million from the impact of the two percent property tax cap this year, compared to the historical average increase of 4.6 percent. 

The median property tax paid nationally is $1,917, while New Yorkers pay $3,755 – – a whopping 96 percent more than the national median in property taxes.  New Yorkers pay the highest local taxes in the country as a percentage of personal income, almost 80 percent above the national average.

Under the provisions of the bill, beginning in the 2012-13 school year, senior citizens would receive a rebate check in an amount that equals 25 percent of the current STAR exemption benefit.  The benefit would increase to 35 percent of the STAR exemption starting in the 2013-14 school year.  The Senate and Joe Robach estimate the total property tax relief for seniors next school year would be $202 million.

Basic STAR rebate checks for middle class families would be restored beginning in the 2013-14 school year.  The amount of the rebate checks would be determined by income and the local school district tax rate. Total property tax relief would be $1.2 billion. The income brackets would be as follows:

For Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess counties and New York City: 
$0 to $120,00 – 60 percent of the STAR exemption
$120,001 to $175,000 – 45 percent
$175,001 to $250,000 – 30 percent

For Upstate New York counties:

$0 to $90,000 – 60 percent of the STAR exemption
$90,001 to $150,000 – 45 percent
$150,001 to $250,000 – 30 percent

The Basic STAR rebate check percentages would remain the same in the 2014-15 school year, but would increase in each of the next two years to 70 percent, 52.5 percent and 35 percent in 2015-16 and to 80 percent, 60 percent and 40 percent in 2016-17.

In any year when there is no appropriation for the rebate checks, senior citizens and middle class taxpayers would be able to claim a property tax credit, equivalent to their rebate check, against their personal income taxes.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.  If seniors have questions about this legislation, contact Joe Robach’s office.