The Proposal Builds on New York’s Nation-Leading Actions to Protect the Rights of Women and LGBTQ New Yorkers
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed the Department of Financial Services to ensure that insurers begin covering fertility services immediately for same sex couples who wish to start a family. While current insurance law requires insurers to cover infertility services, same sex couples must sometimes pay 6 or 12 months of out-of-pocket expenses for fertility treatments such as testing and therapeutic donor insemination procedures before qualifying for coverage. The Department of Financial Services, under Governor Cuomo’s direction, will direct insurers to provide immediate coverage for fertility services for same sex couples to eliminate lag times and added expenses. The proposal was introduced in the Governor’s 2021 State of the State as a key component of the Women’s Agenda and builds on a number of nation-leading actions to protect the rights of both women and LGBTQ New Yorkers, including the required coverage of in-vitro fertilization services by Insurance plans providing large group coverage, the enactment of Marriage Equality Act, GENDA, legalizing gestational surrogacy, banning conversion therapy and the gay and trans panic defense and most recently, repealing the ‘Walking While Trans’ ban.
“For too long same sex couples have been denied coverage for immediate infertility benefits, forcing them to pay high – often prohibitive – out-of-pocket costs to start a family,” Governor Cuomo said. “No New Yorker should be denied the opportunity to become a parent, nor the joys of raising a child, because of their sexual orientation, and this change reflects what we as New Yorkers know to be true: that love is what makes a family, that inclusivity is our strength and that the law should work for all New Yorkers.”
Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor and Chair of the Council on Women and Girls said, “New York is leading the nation in protecting the rights of all New Yorkers and making it easier to start a family by expanding access to safe and affordable fertility treatments. Family planning is a profoundly personal and emotional journey and it should not be made harder by bureaucracy. These new actions mark a major win for women and the LGBTQ community, and we will continue breaking down barriers to family planning until every New Yorker has access to the protections and services they need to start a family of their own.”
The Governor has been a steadfast advocate for expanding equality. Under his leadership, New York has been a national leader in protecting the rights of LGBTQ New Yorkers from the enactment of the nation-leading Marriage Equality Act in 2011 to the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act in 2019. Just last year, Governor Cuomo signed legalized gestational surrogacy into law, helping LGBTQ couples and couples struggling with infertility grow their families. The Governor also banned conversion therapy and repealed the gay and trans panic defense ban. This year, Governor Cuomo repealed the ‘Walking While Trans’ policy which unfairly targeted and disproportionately policed transgender and cisgender women of color.
The Governor has also acted to prohibit discrimination in the delivery of health care services and access to health insurance coverage. In 2019, the Governor directed the Department of Financial Services to promulgate new regulations protecting access to health insurance coverage by transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers, and signed new legislation prohibiting insurers from discriminating in the provision of coverage for fertility treatments.