Penstock Featured in Buffalo News: New Yorkers Overpay Millions in HealthCare Surcharges

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The Buffalo News recently published an article titled “New Yorkers overpay millions in health care surcharges” in which Penstock VP of Operations Jeff Snyder explores HCRA, New York State’s incredibly complex healthcare tax policy.

During the pandemic, New York State revenue from HCRA should have gone down. Instead, it rose sharply. Jeff writes:

Covid-19 has put the problem in stark contrast. With thousands of people in Buffalo and around the state getting Covid tests every day, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of tests that are subject to the tax (because a doctor ordered them ahead of a procedure) and those that aren’t (because a patient thinks they might be sick).

As a result, revenues from HCRA have swelled, growing to nearly $4 billion in 2020 alone, an increase of almost 7% over 2019 levels. In reality, the total should have decreased in 2020 as patients switched to Medicaid (which is taxed at a lower rate) in large numbers and postponed elective surgeries and nonessential care due to the pandemic.

Even the state itself, in its 2021 budget, acknowledged that the pandemic’s effect on health care consumers should have led to “a material and adverse impact on HCRA revenues.” Clearly it didn’t. Why aren’t lawmakers asking why?

Read the full article in the March 4, 2022 edition of The Buffalo News or online here.

Learn more about Penstock’s HCRA assessments for healthcare payors here.

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