Empire BlueCross BlueShield (“Empire”) is closely monitoring COVID-19 developments and working to create solutions that address not just the physical toll of this crisis, but also the mental health needs in the state. Effective May 2, 2020, Empire began waiving cost sharing for in-network outpatient mental health services for all New York fully-insured members, including essential workers.  This waiver will be in effect until September 28, 2020, unless further extended.


This action is an addition to the proactive steps Empire has taken to support care providers and protect our members, associates and communities against COVID-19 including waiving cost sharing for testing treatment, expanded access to telehealth, and streamlined administrative work to ensure hospitals and providers can deliver care to more patients quickly and effectively.


The coverage is compliant with New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) Insurance Regulation 62 and applies to essential workers as well as all of Empire’s fully-insured employer, and Individual plans. For more information on the regulation, visit the DFS regulation available here.


Starting May 2, 2020, in-network outpatient providers were advised that they may not collect any deductible1, copayment, or coinsurance on outpatient mental health services for New York fully insured members. This is applies through September 28, 2020, unless further extended.


1 Waiver of cost sharing does not apply to deductibles for high deductible health plans.

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COVID-19 Information - Publication RETIRED as of November 8, 2022