Four new laws to protect consumers from price gouging, medical debt and unfair business practices

Governor Hochul signed legislation to protect New York consumers from medicine price-gouging and ongoing financial consequences related to medical debt. Additionally, the Governor signed bills that will curb predatory subscription services and confusion over the price of many goods and services. Legislation S.608-C/A.5653-B prohibits the sale of medicine for an unconscionably excessive price throughout a drug shortage. Legislation S.4907A/A.6275A prohibits hospitals, health care professionals and ambulances from reporting medical debt to credit agencies. Legislation S.5941B/A.3245D requires companies to notify customers of automatic subscription renewals and to provide clear instructions for canceling said services. Legislation S.1048A/A.2672B clarifies that merchants must post the highest price a consumer might pay for a product, regardless of payment methods.

“As costs and inflation continue to creep up, consumer protection is one of the ways that our state is giving New Yorkers more purchasing power and keeping hard-earned money in their pockets,” Governor Hochul said“This legislation will help to protect individuals struggling with medical debt, unwanted subscriptions, and confusion over prices at the register. No one should have to jump through hoops to protect their finances and today we’re taking steps to help New Yorkers on their journeys toward financial freedom.” 

Legislation S.608C/A.5653B prohibits the sale of medicine for an unconscionably excessive price during a drug shortage (as declared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration).  

Assemblymember Karines Reyes, R.N. said, “I applaud Governor Hochul for signing this pivotal legislation today. As a health care professional and the representative of a community with a high population of seniors, I am well aware that the cost of prescription drugs is egregiously high. This legislation tackles the affordability and access crisis in health care by allowing New York State to sue and penalize entities that engage in the price gouging of medicines, due to drug shortages. This new law will allow state officials to analyze, identify and engage bad actors that seek to excessively profit off of high prescription drug prices, leaving seniors, the disabled and the most marginalized without sorely needed medicine or the ability to pay their other bills. I appreciate Governor Hochul and Attorney General James for their leadership on this issue and look forward to this law’s implementation.

Legislation S.4907A/A.6275A prohibits hospitals, health care professionals and ambulances from reporting an individual’s medical debt to credit agencies. According to a 2023 study from the Urban Institute, 740,000 New Yorkers have medical debt on their credit reports with people of color twice as likely to have medical debt referred to a credit bureau and low-income people three times more likely. By prohibiting hospitals, health care professionals, and certified ambulances from reporting medical debt to credit agencies, this legislation will make it easier for New Yorkers to get jobs, secure credit, rent an apartment, pay for their children’s education and build long-term wealth.

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