OGC Opinion No. 05-04-20

The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on April 25, 2005, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: Individual Health Insurance for Non-Citizens

Question Presented:

Are there any New York laws that apply to obtaining individual health insurance for a domestic employee who is not an American citizen?


There is no provision in the New York Insurance Law (McKinney 2000 and 2005 Supplement) that would prohibit or otherwise restrict an insurer from insuring the risks of aliens. However, if an insurer declines to issue an individual health insurance policy to a resident who is not an American citizen, on the basis of non-citizenship, further investigation would be required to determine whether such insurer has violated New York Insurance Law § 2606 (McKinney 2000), which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, or disability, New York Insurance Law § 4224 (McKinney 2000 and 2005 Supplement), which prohibits improper discrimination in life, accident and health insurance, or New York Insurance Law Article 24 (McKinney 2000 and 2005 Supplement), which prohibits unfair methods of competition and unfair and deceptive acts and practices.

More facts would be required before the Department could be more specific.

For further information please contact Principal Attorney Alan Rachlin at the New York City office.