Memorandum in Opposition
For Immediate Release:  May 21, 2024

Re: A.6173 (Bronson)/S.6362 (Brouk) — AN ACT to amend the insurance law, in relation to including outpatient care provided by creative arts therapists in certain insurance policies.

This legislation, A.6173/S.6362, would require health plans to reimburse creative arts therapists used as part of outpatient services provided for treatment of mental health conditions. While this bill may be well intended, the New York Health Plan Association (HPA) opposes the legislation because it is unnecessary.

New York and federal mental health parity laws require insurers to provide equitable coverage for mental health care. These laws ensure that patients have access to needed treatment and therapies delivered by a wide array of providers in both inpatients and outpatient settings.

New York currently licenses creative arts therapists, who are trained in both psychotherapy and in specific arts disciplines, which may include dance/movement therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, poetry therapy and art therapy. A requirement of licensure is that these professionals train in both creative arts and psychotherapy. New York licensed practitioners are also required to hold a master’s or higher degree in a program of creative arts therapy or its equivalent, have passed a state-approved exam or assessment, and have completed at least 1,500 hours of clinical experience under supervision of a qualified, licensed mental health professional.

HPA believes this legislation is unnecessary given New York’s strong mental law and regulations that already require coverage of services by licensed professionals.

For these reasons, HPA opposes A.6173/S.6362.