Department of Financial Services and Department of Health Issue Letter Urging Federal Government to Ensure Insurance Coverage for COVID-19 Vaccine Counseling Visits for Children and Their Families  

Department of Financial Services Issues New Guidance Letter to New York’s Insurance Industry to Incentivize Vaccinations  

Read the DFS and DOH letter to the Federal Government 

Read DFS’s Guidance Letter to New York’s Insurance Industry 

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) are calling on the federal government to issue guidance to all insurers to cover COVID-19 vaccination consultations for children and their families. The Governor also announced that DFS is issuing guidance to insurers encouraging them to create new incentives and rewards for New Yorkers who get vaccinated or boosted and will fast-track any approvals needed to add these programs to insurance policies.      

“New York State continues to highlight the importance of getting vaccinated – the best way for all of us to keep our children and families safe, especially as we battle the winter surge,” Governor Hochul said. “In addition to our comprehensive efforts to vaccinate New Yorkers, including #VaxForKids and pop-up vaccination sites, we are taking action by calling on the federal government to encourage insurers to cover vaccination consultations and by calling on New York insurers to leverage wellness and reward programs to encourage their insureds to get vaccinated. The vaccine is safe, effective, free, and widely available throughout the state and it’s imperative that we all use this critical tool at our disposal.”    

Superintendent of Financial Services Adrienne A. Harris said, “Unexpected medical costs that can come with COVID-19 treatment can impact a parent’s ability to put food on the table, which is why vaccines provide an important protection plan not only for the health of children but for the financial well-being of families. DFS strongly recommends that insurers cover COVID-19 vaccination consultations, incentivizing all New Yorkers to get vaccinated and boosted so that they can protect themselves and others from the virus and its variants.”    

Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, “The State continues to do everything possible to ensure parents and guardians can confidently make the decision to get their children vaccinated. Free consultations with their child’s healthcare provider, the most trusted source of information for medical-decision making, will help. That’s why we are calling on the federal government to issue guidance so insurers cover COVID-19 vaccination consultations for families, removing this fundamental barrier to access. All New Yorkers must have access to the COVID-19 vaccine as well as good, fact-based information about it.”   

Today’s announcement highlights the importance of delivering accurate vaccine information to families through their trusted health care providers. On December 2, 2021, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a new requirement for Medicaid to cover COVID-19 vaccine counseling visits in which health care providers talk to families about the importance of kids’ vaccination, even when those visits do not result in a vaccination. In the letter issued by DFS and DOH, New York urges the federal government to extend this guidance to cover all insurers and require that insurers reimburse COVID-19 vaccination consultations with no copay or cost sharing for families. This action will ensure that health care providers can take the time to answer families’ questions and engage in discussion about the COVID-19 vaccine, ultimately improving youth vaccine rates.

DFS’s guidance letter to New York insurers encourages them to support the state’s COVID-19 vaccination progress and efforts to combat the virus by offering rewards and incentives to insureds who get vaccinated or boosted. Health insurers are currently permitted to offer approved wellness incentives to insureds. DFS’s guidance informs insurers that these programs may be used to offer rewards to insureds who get vaccinated or boosted and that DFS will expedite any approvals needed to add these rewards to insurance policies.   

Read the DFS and DOH letter to the federal government.   

Read DFS’s Guidance Letter to New York’s insurance industry.