Department of Financial Services Announces Final Regulation to Combat Maternal Depression

Department of Financial Services Announces Final Regulation to Combat Maternal Depression

All Health Insurance Policies Now Required to Include Coverage for Maternal Depression Screening

Acting Department of Financial Services (DFS) Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell today announced that the Department of Financial Services will require all New York commercial health insurance policies to cover maternal depression screenings, including screening for the mother under the child's policy.  First issued as a proposed regulation as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2018 Women’s Agenda, the final regulation will ensure that women in New York can access crucial screenings and treatment to combat maternal depression.

"DFS is proud to be part of the Governor’s commitment to supporting mothers struggling with maternal depression by requiring that the critical insurance coverage be in place for screenings and treatment in order to help New York families flourish,” said Acting Department of Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell. “This vital action ensures that as mothers tend to the health of their children, they will also receive access to the comprehensive, preventative healthcare they deserve.”

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “Making it easier for a mother to be screened for maternal depression improves chances for optimal outcomes. These new regulations will make a difference in reducing the stigma associated with mental health conditions and with asking for help.”

NYS Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “Many women experience depression or other mental health concerns during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth, which impacts not only the mother, but her baby and entire family as well. Fortunately, maternal depression is highly treatable if identified early, and Governor Cuomo's aggressive new initiatives will encourage screenings, help healthcare providers diagnose maternal depression, and lead to better health outcomes for new mothers.”

Research shows that skillful, prompt and compassionate care can make a critical difference for women with maternal depression, which affects as many as one in seven mothers nationally. Screening increases detection, diagnosis and intervention for maternal depression, which is highly treatable if identified early. 

Under the new DFS regulations, all health insurance policies issued in New York will be required to include coverage for maternal depression screenings by both adult and pediatric primary care providers, as well as speedy referrals to treatment specialists.  In accordance with the regulation, insurance policies that cover the child but not the mother must provide coverage for maternal depression screening, as a critically important preventative care intervention for the health of the child.  This regulation ensures that women will receive proper access to care and treatment.

This announcement builds upon Governor Cuomo’s measures to expedite referrals and treatment, including expansion of the New York State Department of Mental Health’s Project TEACH to connect primary care providers with mental health specialists, enhanced screening and referrals at WIC clinics and increased access to telepsychiatry for those in rural communities.

The regulation will take effect 60 days after publication in the State Register on June 12, 2019.


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