NU Online News Service, Sept. 23, 1:09 p.m. – New York Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, has signed S. 7360, creating a new law that could make lower-cost health insurance available to the state’s sole proprietors.

Pataki signed the bill at the Business Council of the State of New York’s 2002 annual meeting.

The bill, originally introduced in the state Assembly by Assemblyman Joseph D. Morelle, D-Irondequoit, N.Y., creates a new premium rate for sole proprietors that could be significantly lower than the individual rates they were previously paying.

“This new law will make affordable health insurance available to more than 250,000 people by giving sole proprietors access to the same coverage as other businesses,” Pataki says in a statement about S. 7360.

The new law based on the bill requires health insurers that offer group coverage through New York’s chambers of commerce and association groups to provide the same policies to sole proprietors at a rate within 20% of the insurers’ regular small group rates.

More information about the bill, including the full text, is available on the Web at http://www.assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=s7360