Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today called on the New York State Department of Financial Services to launch an investigation into that nurses have been denied life insurance coverage for carrying opioid overdose reversal medications, such as Naloxone or Narcan.
“Nurses are on the front line of our state’s fight to combat the opioid epidemic, and it is unacceptable that life insurance providers would deny these hard-working health professionals coverage for common sense precautions they take to help save lives,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York State will always stand up for our nurses and do all we can to support their work to keep New Yorkers healthy and safe, and today I am calling on the Department of Financial Services to launch an investigation and take appropriate steps to ensure no nurse in New York State is being unfairly denied the life insurance coverage that they deserve.”
The Governor encouraged nurses who have been denied coverage to contact the Department of Financial Services via the Department’s consumer complaint website or phone line, to ensure all instances are thoroughly investigated. Nurses should file a consumer complaint or call (212) 480-6400 or toll-free (800) 342-3736 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM).
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that is used to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, namely slowed or stopped breathing. With the opioid crisis tragically affecting communities across the nation, the U.S. Surgeon General called for an increase of availability and emphasized the importance of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. According to the , Fentanyl, an opioid estimated to be hundreds of times more potent than heroin, can be disseminated into the air as fine particles or liquid spray endangering first responders through inhalation or skin contact. Many nurses on the front lines of the fight against the opioid epidemic obtain naloxone without a patient-specific prescription, fearing encounters with drug users and patients outside of a typical medical setting.