New York State to ensure PPE fees are refunded to patients

ABC50 NOW

Blue face masks. (Karolina Grabowska / Pexels)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The New York State Department of Financial Services will ensure that patients are not charged personal protective equipment fees.

Following consumer complaints received by the DFS, the department will work with healthcare providers. Complaints stated that providers, specifically dental, have been charging patients for personal protective equipment, or other charges related to increased costs due to COVID-19.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced new guidance requiring providers to ensure that patients receive PPE free of charge. In addition, no policies or contract provisions will be approved if they hold insured patients responsible for the cost of a participating provider’s PPE.   

“In these uncertain times, as many New Yorkers are struggling to make ends meet, healthcare providers should not be creating additional financial burdens on their patients,” Governor Cuomo said. “This action will ensure that New Yorkers are protected against excessive fees associated with the necessary and at times live-saving care they need.” 

The following statements were included in a circulated letter from DFS

  • Immediately notify their participating providers not to charge PPE fees and that insureds should be held harmless for these charges 
  • Instruct providers to refund PPE fees
  • Notify insureds that they should not be charged for PPE fees and provide insureds with insurers’ contact information to submit related complaints  
  • Work with their providers to resolve issues relating to increased costs due to COVID-19, including PPE fees
  • Work with their providers to ensure that refunds are provided
  • Within 90 days of the circular letter, report to DFS the amount of PPE fees charged to insureds, the number of insureds impacted, and a description of how refunds will be provided. 

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