Press Release 

May 2, 2020

SUPERINTENDENT LACEWELL ANNOUNCES DFS ISSUES EMERGENCY REGULATION REQUIRING INSURANCE COMPANIES TO WAIVE OUT-OF-POCKET COSTS FOR IN-NETWORK MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR FRONTLINE ESSENTIAL WORKERS DURING COVID-19

Follows Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Announcement

New DFS Regulatory Action States Frontline Essential Workers Do Not Have to Pay Copayments, Coinsurance or Annual Deductibles for In-Network Mental Health Services During COVID-19

Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell today announced the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued an emergency regulation following Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement that DFS will require New York State-regulated health insurers to waive out-of-pocket costs, including cost-sharing, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance, for in-network mental health services for New York’s frontline essential workers during COVID-19.

“Frontline essential workers continue to do their jobs for the greater good of the people,” said Superintendent Lacewell. “These brave individuals are the backbone of New York during this crisis and today’s DFS regulatory action removes a financial barrier to the care they need.”

Health care workers, first responders, transit workers, food services workers, retail workers at essential businesses, and other frontline essential employees, are required to directly interact with the public while working during this public health emergency, exposing themselves and their families to incremental risks, to ensure that essential services continue for the benefit of the people of New York. During this time of crisis, it is in the public interest for all stakeholders to support these essential workers to ensure they receive the mental health services they need. 

DFS has now issued an emergency regulation to prohibit insurers from imposing cost-sharing for telehealth and in-person mental health services rendered by in-network providers on an outpatient basis to frontline essential workers eligible to be tested at one of the State’s drive through or walk in COVID-19 testing sites.  This follows the previous DFS regulation which prohibited cost sharing for all telehealth services.

Read a copy of the DFS emergency regulation on the DFS website.

Read a copy of the accompanying circular letter on the DFS website.

For additional DFS regulatory actions on COVID-19 pandemic, go to: www.dfs.ny.gov/industry/coronavirus.

Read a list of essential businesses on the New York State Empire State Development website.

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