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Empire State Says Health Coverage Is Board Member Comp

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Paying for medical insurance for board members of 2 New York state public agencies is illegal, a top state official says.

A 1992 law forbids the state or its agencies from providing salary or other compensation for members of the boards of the New York State Housing Finance Agency and the State of New York Mortgage Agency, according to New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Changes to the law made in 1998 permit board members to pay to join the New York State Health Insurance Program, but those changes do not permit the state HFA or the SONYMA to pay the premiums, Cuomo says in a legal opinion issued Wednesday.

Any contracts requiring the agencies to pay current health insurance premiums for the board members or to pay for premiums for post-retirement coverage are “illegal, null and void,” Cuomo says.

Priscilla Almodovar, who recently took over as president of the HFA and the SONYMA earlier this year, froze payments for board member retiree health coverage and asked for a legal opinion concerning the propriety of the payments, Cuomo says.

Almodovar is the wife of Eric Dinallo, New York’s acting insurance superintendent.


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