Making sure nurses carrying Narcan can get life insurance

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Nurses in New York said they’re being denied life insurance policies simply for carrying the lifesaving overdose reversal drug Narcan.

A matter of minutes is all it takes for an opioid overdose to stop someone from breathing, which is why nurses said it’s critical for healthcare professionals to be able to carry naloxone.

“Narcan is very important because it’s the only thing we have these days that can reverse an opioid overdose,” Jeanine Santelli, ANA-NY Executive Director, said.

But, for some, carrying the life saving drug is coming at cost.

“Nurses, social workers, drug counselors, principals – many have prescriptions for Naracan,” Sen. Pete Harckham said. “And, many of them we found, were being denied life insurance from insurance companies when they ran the medication screens.”

Harckham is sponsoring legislation to prohibit insurers from discriminating against those with Narcan prescriptions. 

“The two bills that are active do not refer just to healthcare providers, they certainly use the healthcare providers as the justification, but they are a little bit broader, so at this point, we haven’t come out in official support of the bills just because we’re in the investigative stage,” Santelli said.

Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo is directing the Department of Financial Services to investigate the issue.

“We are certainly very, very much in support of the Governor’s request to have an investigation into this issue because that is definitely where things need to be at this place in time,” Santelli said.

The Senate version of the bill has passed. The Assembly version has yet to go to the floor for a vote.

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