$2.7M penalty for insurers that do not observe mental health parity!
Penalties strengthen goal of Timothy’s Law
Published 11:30 p.m., Friday, May 18, 2012
Last week, 15 health insurance companies in New York were fined a combined $2.7 million for failing to comply with a law that I sponsored, Timothy’s Law (“Timothy’s Law fines total $2.7M,” May 9). The goal of Timothy’s Law was simple enough: To make mental health insurance coverage no different than physical health insurance coverage. After all, one in five adults nationwide suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder.
These were the first penalties against insurers since the law was enacted. While full compliance is certainly preferable to these shortcomings, I want to commend Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s administration and Department of Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky for ensuring that Timothy’s Law has the force and strength it was designed to have.
At the federal level, the Affordable Care Act will help ensure more than 7.6 million new patients have access to mental health coverage with their insurance. At the same time, the implementation of the Wellstone-Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act must continue with the greatest sense of purpose and sensitivity.
As a vice co-chairman of the bipartisan Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus in the House of Representatives, I am reminded of Timothy O’Clair‘s story every day — a painful story of a young boy who took his own life because he did not have access to the care needed to treat his mental health issues.
The fight in Timothy’s name, and millions of others like him, is far from over. This is yet another step in the right direction.
U.S. Representative, 21st Congressional District of New York Washington, D.C.