Monday, April 11, 2016

Cuomo announces more health benefits for victims of domestic violence

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that insurers and HMOs offering comprehensive health insurance coverage through the New York State of Health individual marketplace are now required to allow victims of domestic violence, or spousal abandonment, to enroll in insurance plans at any time of the year. The New York State Department of Financial Services has created a new special enrollment period which will permit these individuals to enroll at any time outside of the standard November 1 through January 31 annual open enrollment period.
"Victims of domestic violence should not be forced to ensure additional hardships because they lack access to quality health coverage for themselves or their children," said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. "This action will help break this cycle of violence and help victims gain the independence and the assistance they need."
The following guidance is being provided to insurers and HMOs by the Department of Financial Services:
· The special enrollment period will be made available for individual coverage outside the New York State of Health starting April 15, 2016 to any member of a household who is a victim of domestic violence, including unmarried and dependent victims within the household, as well as victims of spousal abandonment, including their dependents.

· For applications received by the 15th of the month, coverage will be effective on the first day of the following month. For applications received after the 15th of the month, coverage should be effective on the first day of the second following month.

· Insurers and HMOs may include either an item on the application or request a separate statement from the applicant attesting to their eligibility for the special enrollment period. Insurers and HMOs should not require that the applicant have been a victim of domestic violence or spousal abandonment within a specified period of time. Insurers and HMOs may not require any proof of eligibility or apply overly burdensome requirements on applicants seeking to use the special enrollment period.