The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued a Circular Letter announcing an emergency regulation prohibiting insurers from imposing copayments, coinsurance, or annual deductibles for in-network outpatient mental health services provided to essential workers. Deductibles may be imposed for individuals covered under a high-deductible health plan if required by Federal law.

The regulation defines essential workers to include health care workers, first responders, and a broad array of essential employees who interact with the public, including retail workers, transit workers, bank employees, childcare workers, teachers, food service workers, and many others. Insurers are required to notify their in-network outpatient mental health providers that they should not collect copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles for services provided to essential workers. Insurers must also include the essential worker definition in the notice.

The emergency regulation is in effect for 90 days pending further evaluation.

GNYHA appreciates DFS’s actions to eliminate financial barriers to accessing mental health services for these essential workers.