Legislative Advocacy – Mental Health Parity

Mental Health Parity – Known as Timothy’s Law, this law prohibits insurers from limiting coverage for mental and emotional disorders or charging higher deductibles or co-pays for mental health treatment than it does for “physical” health treatment. It also mandates insurance providers covering any health care services must also provide coverage for mental health and substance abuse services, and that coverage and cost must be ‘on par’ with all other health care services covered under such policy.

The law was named for Timothy O’Clair, a Schenectady, New York boy who completed suicide in 2001, seven weeks prior to his 13th birthday. His suicide was attributed to the discrimination that he faced at the hands of his parent’s insurance company, discrimination that existed throughout every private insurance plan in New York State. The law ultimately passed in his honor (in 2006) was and remains one of the nation’s strongest parity laws ever enacted.