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NY Allows Penalty-Free Health Insurance Payment Deferrals

Individuals and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic will be able to defer health insurance premium payments for two months - until June 1 - thanks to an emergency order issued today by the state Department of Financial Services.

This payment deferral applies to both individual and small-group health plans. Insurers are required to waive late payment fees and also won't be reporting missed payments to credit reporting bureaus, so credit ratings will not be negatively impacted.

In the evaluation process for premium deferrals, state regulators will take into account insurers’ liquidity and solvency.

The goal of this effort is to make sure that New Yorkers “do not lose coverage during this health crisis and have time to transition to alternative coverage if needed,” according to a statement issued by the state Superintendent of Financial Services Linda Lacewell.

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

This is not the first coronavirus-related change related to insurance that the state has undertaken since the pandemic began. Last month, it eased some insurance reporting requirements to speed treatments for COVID-19 and also required premium deferrals on life and property-casualty policies.

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