Simotas Advocates For In-Vitro Inclusion In Group Health Insurance Plans

    Assemblymember Aravella Simotas

    Assemblymember Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria, Long Island City) yesterday announced she wrote a letter to Department of Financial Services’ (DFS) Superintendent Linda Lacewell and Governor Andrew Cuomo requesting that New York select a new Essential Health Benefits (EHB) benchmark plan that includes in-vitro fertilization (IVF) coverage.

    “To stay consistent with New York State’s Women’s Agenda Initiatives recently proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the policy changes that were adopted in the 2019-2020 State Budget for large group market plans, the benchmark plan that is chosen must provide access to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, which is now deemed the optimal standard of care for infertility,” wrote Simotas.

    In the Assembly, Simotas has been advocating for access to infertility services since 2016, when she first introduced legislation requiring all insurance companies provide coverage for IVF and fertility preservation treatments. A measure was finally included in this year’s state budget granting only large market insurers access to three cycles of IVF coverage. However, many small business owners and employees of small non-profit organizations are still unable to access such care.

    Simotas has now introduced a bill (A7478) in the Assembly removing the exclusionary language for small market and individual insurers’ plans and is requesting that DFS and Cuomo act now to ensure middle class and lower income New Yorkers are given the essential benefits they are entitled to.

    “If all New Yorkers cannot access this standard of care, then the problem is not fixed. We need to keep our commitment to our constituents and make sure that exclusionary language is not what keeps New Yorkers from building families. I will continue to stand with families and advocates until all citizens across our state can access IVF,” Simotas said.


    Van Bramer Endorses TA Plan To Clamp Down On Auto Drivers

    City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

    City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside) yesterday endorsed Transportation Alternatives’ new Tech for Safety campaign to fund a pilot enforcement program with automated cameras and technology to catch drivers that are violating pedestrian right-of-way, blocking bike lanes, and blocking the box.

    Van Bramer endorsed the plan at a rally to address the lack of enforcement against illegal parking on sidewalks and in bike lanes and crosswalks continues to endanger residents throughout Western Queens.

    “When cars turn our sidewalks into parking lots and block our bike lanes and crosswalks, they put pedestrians and cyclists in danger. It’s particularly unsafe for children, seniors, and people with disabilities. The NYPD must step up its enforcement against illegal parking and ticket and tow cars that are blatantly breaking the law. Not just sporadic ticket sweeps. We need a comprehensive, zero-tolerance policy and legislation to increase penalties,” said Van Bramer.


    Constantinides, Ramos Rally To Save Astoria Key Food

    City Council Member Costa Constantinides

    State Sen. Jessica Ramos

    City Council Member Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria, East Elmhurst) and State Sen.  Jessica Ramos (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) today will join community leaders and labor activists will rally today to save a local Key Food that’s served the neighborhood for more than 50 years.

    Landlord Jenel Management recently filed demolition permits for 22-15 31st Street at Ditmars Boulevard, which Key Food has called home for decades. Documents filed with the City show Jenel plans to replace this vital community use with Target. The leaders will call on Jenel to work with Key Food on a fair lease that allows it to stay at the property alongside the big-box store.

    The rally is slated for 2:45 p.m., today, May 10 at 22-15 31st Street in Astoria.


    Sanders To Host Job Fair

    State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

    State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) next week will host a Job Fair and Career Expo in Arverne.

    There will be a wide variety of companies to choose from, and they are looking to hire. Come to the fair and see what opportunities are available. The first step to a better future starts with you. Bring your resume, dress for success, and be sure to tell your friends.  

    If you need employment prep assistance, Workforce 1 is offering free workshops leading up to the expo. Individual career advisement: Tuesdays & Thursdays from 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Acing the Interview: Every Monday from 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Location for both workshops: Far Rockaway Workforce 1 Center, 57-10 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Arverne, NY 11692.

    Companies who are interested in recruiting at the event should RSVP by calling Senator Sanders’ Office at 718-327-7017 or 718-523-3069. It’s free!

    The Job Fair is slated for between 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Friday, May 17 at the Rockaway YMCA 207 Beach 73rd Street in Arverne.

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