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Breaking Good News for New York State's Pregnant and Postpartum Women

Last week, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued guidance to ensure insurers do not unfairly discriminate against pregnant and postpartum women.

This new directive follows guidance issued on April 25, 2016 by DFS requiring insurers offering group or individual health coverage to provide, with no copayment, coinsurance or deductible, preventative services such as depression screenings for pregnant and postpartum women.

Insurers have a responsibility to properly underwrite life insurance and disability income insurance policies that do not unfairly discriminate against women diagnosed with maternal depression. Under New York Insurance Law, insurers cannot refuse to issue, renew, or cancel any insurance policy because of any past treatment for a mental disability, including maternal depression. Insurers are also prohibited from limiting the amount, type of coverage, or charging a different rate for the same coverage solely because of a previous diagnosis of depression.

See:https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/MaternalDepressionUnderwritingFinal71116.pdf

“Insurance companies are on notice that we will have zero tolerance for those who seek to unfairly discriminate against and deny services to New Yorkers struggling with maternal depression,” said Governor Cuomo. “With this action, we are helping ensure pregnant and postpartum women across the state have access to the treatment they need to help build healthier lives for themselves and their families.”

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