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N.Y. Grants Covid-19 Health Insurance Premium Deferrals

April 8, 2020, 5:32 PM

New York consumers affected by the coronavirus pandemic will be able to defer health insurance premium payments for two months, the state’s financial regulator said.

The New York Department of Financial Services on Wednesday issued an emergency rule allowing any individual or small businesses facing financial hardship to defer paying health insurance premiums until June 1. The payment deferral would apply to individual and small-group health plans, the New York insurance regulator said.

The emergency regulation followed a Tuesday announcement and executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

Health insurers are required to waive late payment fees and will not report missed payments to consumer credit reporting bureaus under the emergency rule. Health insurers will also have to work with consumers to move to new coverage plans, if appropriate.

New York regulators will take into account insurers’ liquidity and solvency when evaluating them for the premium deferrals, according to the emergency rule.

The deferrals are intended to make sure people “do not lose coverage during this health crisis and have time to transition to alternative coverage if needed,” New York Superintendent of Financial Services Linda Lacewell said in a statement.

The emergency rule was drafted in conjunction with the Connecticut Insurance Department, where major health insurers like Aetna and Cigna are based.

New York’s Wednesday emergency rule is the latest in a series of moves to address insurance-related issues coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus spreading around the country.

On March 20, New York eased some insurance reporting requirements in order to speed up Covid-19 treatments. And on March 27, the state required premium deferrals on life and property-casualty policies.

To contact the reporter on this story: Evan Weinberger in New York at eweinberger@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Ferullo at mferullo@bloomberglaw.com

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