NEW YORK — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday allowing pregnant women to enroll in the New York health insurance exchange at any time during their pregnancy.
The bill, the first of its kind in the nation according to a tweet from the governor's official account, makes pregnancy a "qualifying life event" that allows mothers-to-be to enroll in health care through the state exchange outside of the regular enrollment period from October through December.
Other qualifying life events already on the books include: a change of residence, the birth or adoption of a child, marriage, divorce, or the death of a child, according to a statement from the governor's office.
"This legislation will help expectant mothers get access to essential pre-natal care and help build a stronger and healthier New York," Cuomo said in the statement.
"I thank the bill sponsors for their hard work on this critically important issue that will have a significant impact on future generations of New Yorkers."
Advocates for women's health praised the legislation.
Andrea Miller, president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, said in a statement that the organization "applauds Governor Cuomo for signing into law groundbreaking legislation that allows pregnant individuals to purchase health insurance at any point during their pregnancy, without having to wait for an open enrollment period."
"Today, the State of New York took a step as a national leader to recognize the importance of ensuring health coverage during pregnancy," Kelli Owens, vice president of external affairs for Family Planning Advocates of NY, said in a statement.
"This new law will ensure that vital pre-natal care and other health needs can be met during pregnancy which will lead to better maternal and infant health, which is smart public policy."