New York: Gov. Cuomo says NY State of Health to extend COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period thru 5/15

On March 16th, New York's ACA exchange, NY State of Health, announced that they'd be launching a COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period with a deadline of April 15th.

Today, on top of several other state-based exchanges bumping out their COVID SEP deadlines, it appears that NY is doing so as well. This is hardly surprising given that the state has been slammed the hardest of any in the country by the pandemic.

There's no official press release or announcement as of yet, but according to Bloomberg News, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo made the announcement at a press conference today:

12:02:30 pm - Angelica LaVito Health-Care Reporter  @angelicalavito

New York is extending open enrollment for health insurance through May 15, Cuomo says.

Update: Here's the official press release...there's some other important details included as well:

FOLLOWING GOVERNOR CUOMO'S ANNOUNCEMENT, DFS TO TAKE REGULATORY ACTION REQUIRING HEALTH INSURERS TO DEFER PAYMENT OF PREMIUMS THROUGH JUNE 1ST FOR CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES EXPERIENCING FINANCIAL HARDSHIP DUE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC

  • DFS to Issue Emergency Regulation Following Governor’s Announcement
  • Special Enrollment Period for Uninsured New Yorkers to Apply for Coverage Through NY State of Health or Directly to Insurers Extended Through May 15, 2020
  • If You Lost Employer Coverage, You Must Apply Within 60 Days of Losing Coverage; Because of Loss of Income, New Yorkers May Also Be Eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan, Subsidized Qualified Health Plans or Child Health Plus

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that, through June 1, 2020, consumers and businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19 may defer paying premiums under individual and small group commercial health insurance plans. Following the Governor’s announcement, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) will require health plans to defer the payment of insurance premiums due under individual and small group health commercial insurance plans through June 1st for consumers and businesses experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through June 1, 2020, individual and small group commercial health insurance plans will be required to continue to pay claims for consumers and businesses who are suffering financial hardship because of the pandemic and cannot pay their premiums. During this period, health plans will not report late payments to credit rating agencies, and will work with individuals to help them transition to new coverage, if appropriate. In addition, health plans are reminded that under existing law they cannot impose late payment fees. DFS will consider any liquidity or solvency concerns of the health plans in giving effect to this directive. Individuals who buy coverage through NY State of Health and receive subsidies will have additional flexibility.

Governor Cuomo thanked Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont for his collaboration on this initiative. DFS also worked closely with Connecticut Insurance Department Commissioner Andrew N. Mais.

“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, DFS will direct New York State-regulated health insurers to defer the payment of health insurance premium payments through June 1st for New York consumers and businesses facing financial hardship due to COVID-19,” said Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell. “DFS will continue to take action to provide relief to New Yorkers who are suffering financially during this crisis.”

The NY State of Health and the New York State Department of Financial Services also announced a one-month extension of the special enrollment period through May 15, 2020 to allow uninsured New Yorkers to apply for coverage through NY State of Health by phone at 855-355-5777, or directly to insurers. If you lost employer coverage, you must apply within 60 days of losing coverage. Because of a loss of income, New Yorkers may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan, subsidized Qualified Health Plans or Child Health Plus.

Following Governor Cuomo’s announcement, DFS will issue an emergency regulation to suspend commercial health insurance premiums collection through June 1st for individuals and small groups demonstrating financial hardship due to COVID-19.

DFS appreciates the continued cooperation of the insurance industry in providing relief to consumers during this crisis, including the health plans’ support of DFS’ recent emergency regulations requiring insurers to waive cost-sharing, including deductibles, co-payments, and coinsurance for telehealth visits.

Today’s announcement follows DFS’ recent adoption of an emergency regulation mandating deferrals of premium payments for life insurance for 90 days and for property and casualty insurance for 60 days.

Additional DFS regulatory actions on the COVID-19 pandemic.