As a result of the recent Tropical Storm Ida which has impacted many  New Jersey residents, Governor Murphy has issued Executive Order No. 259, declaring a state of emergency.  Consistent with the Executive Order, the Commissioner, State of New Jersey, Department of Banking & Insurance (Department), has issued two bulletins.

Bulletin No. 21-09 applies to all entities licensed or regulated by the Department and encourages all insurers, banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders and brokers, consumer lenders, insurance producers, real estate brokers, and any other person or entity subject to licensure or regulation by this Department, to take into consideration the difficulties residents endured and will continue to endure until the damage caused by Tropical Storm Ida is repaired and affected residents fully recover.  The Department specifically encourages the entities and individuals it regulates to assist those affected by taking actions such as relaxing due dates for premium payments, extending grace periods, waiving late fees and penalties, allowing forbearance with regard to policy cancellation and non-renewal, taking similar action as to banking customers as well as delaying the submission of delinquency notices to credit bureaus, extending credit terms, waiving late fees and allowing customers to defer or skip payments.

Bulletin No. 21-10 applies to health insurers, HMOs, health Service corporations and other entities issuing health benefit plans or prescription drug plans in New Jersey (carriers) and requires that carriers provide coverage of prescription drug refills even when the covered person has not yet reached the scheduled refill date.  The Department’s Bulletin further requires that carriers relax restrictions relating to prescription drug coverage for persons who cannot access previously filled prescription medications.  Carriers must allow covered persons affected by Ida to obtain coverage of prescription drug refills as necessary, notwithstanding any plan terms and conditions to the contrary, and to permit coverage of prescription drugs in excess of a 90-day supply.

As the damage caused by the storm is further assessed, the Commissioner may issue further guidance to the regulated industry.  Questions can be submitted to Cynthia J. Borrelli or another member of the Insurance and Health Care Regulatory Practice Group.

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