NY cracks down on insurance coverage for LGBT conversion therapy

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a series of rules preventing health insurers from covering the process of trying to change sexual orientation

NY cracks down on insurance coverage for LGBT conversion therapy

Insurance News


Health insurance companies in New York can no longer provide coverage for therapy designed to change the sexual orientation of minors, according to a series of rules issued Saturday by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The new regulations also reconfirm a ban on payment by Medicaid for the processes and keep mental health facilities from allowing minors to undergo the therapy as well.

“Conversion therapy is a hateful and fundamentally flawed practice that is counter to everything this state stands for,” Cuomo said in announcing his changes. “New York has been at the forefront of acceptance and equality for the LGBT community for decades – and today we are continuing that legacy and leading by example. We will not allow the misguided and the intolerant to punish LGBT young people for simply being who they are.”

In addition to barring insurers from providing reimbursement for conversion therapy to those under 18, carriers are advised to inform participating behavioral health providers that conversion therapy should not be provided to minors and that insurers will not cover such services.

Carriers are also advised to require behavioral health providers to certify that they will not provide conversion therapy to minors as part of their credentialing or application and re-credentialing processes.

The regulatory changes come after years of disagreement over coverage for conversion therapy in the state legislature, which failed to pass a measure banning its use on minors.

Cuomo’s action does not require approval as it impacts regulations carried out by the Department of Financial Services, which oversees and regulates insurance companies.

Conversion therapy has been disavowed by a number of therapists and medical professionals. Cuomo’s notice of the new rules includes statements from organizations like the National Association of Social Workers and NYS Academy of Pediatrics, which said “Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not a disease.”

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