senate Bill S825

Establishes mental health parity in public health insurance plans

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 09 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO HEALTH
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO HEALTH

Summary

Establishes mental health parity in public health insurance plans.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S825
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Health
Law Section:
Social Services Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง369-ee, Soc Serv L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2011-2012: S1237
2009-2010: S7550

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S825

TITLE OF BILL:

An act
to amend the social services law, in relation to establishing mental
health parity in public health insurance plans

PURPOSE:

Provides that the benefits provided in Family Health Plus for the
treatment of mental health and substance abuse disorders be
comparable to medical services.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1. Provides that mental health and substance abuse benefits
provided in Family Health Plus shall be comparable to medical
benefits provided as part of the Family Health Plus program.

Section 2. Authorizes the Commissioner to seek any necessary waivers
to implement this chapter.

Section 3. Provides for an effective date of April 1 of the year next
succeeding enactment.

JUSTIFICATION:

Timothy's Law (Chapter 748 of the Laws of 2006), one of the 42 state
mental health parity laws in the US, took effect January 1, 2007 and
applies to most insurance policies in New York on the day they are
issued, renewed, modified, altered, or amended. Before the law
passed, health plans were permitted to discriminate against those
with mental health needs by charging much higher co-payments and
deductibles for inpatient and outpatient mental health care compared
with the fees they charge consumers for regular medical office
visits. Top health plans also recently began to restrict coverage for
mental health conditions, exclude coverage for chronic mental
illnesses, and impose life time limits on inpatient psychiatric care.
Timothy's Law remedied many of these barriers to care.

Further, Federal law recently added mental health parity requirements
to the Child Health Insurance plans (effective April 1, 2009) and
Medicare (effective on a phased in schedule over the next few years)
as well as self-insured plans and other large employers, including
parity in coverage for the treatment of chemical dependency
(effective with plan years beginning after
October 3, 2009 except for certain collectively bargained plans that
are subject to special rules regarding effective date).

These changes and equity and the comparability provisions of Timothy's
Law do not presently apply to the Family Health Plus Program. This
program already provides coverage for inpatient and outpatient mental
health and alcohol and substance abuse services, but unlike other
health insurance programs that may not limit such services, these
benefits are limited in Family Health Plus.


This legislation simply assures that such coverage is comparable to
that which is provided for other medical conditions under these
programs, and does not place greater restrictions on coverage for
mental health conditions or addictions than apply for other needs.

Recent studies confirm the efficacy and cast effectiveness of such
coverage, and, furthermore demonstrate that the costs associated with
the enactment of mental health parity legislation are minimal.
Actuarial analyses and emerging data from states with parity laws
demonstrate that equitable insurance coverage for mental illnesses is
indeed affordable. Studies demonstrate that the cost of adopting
mental health parity is negligible - often below one per cent. The NYS
insurance department projected costs for Timothy's Law premium
subsidies for small employers to be about one percent for the premium
component attributable to the entire mental health benefit among
private insurers and Health Maintenance Organizations in NYS.

The comparability required under this legislation would cost a mere
fraction of that sum, since (unlike commercial health plans
previously) the Family Health Plus Program already provide mental
health and addiction treatment coverage. Further, the cost to the
taxpayer will be reduced, since those who may would need benefits
beyond the Family Health Plus limited benefit are at times forced
onto Medicaid.

Finally, costs are incurred by individuals, employers, all levels of
government, and society as a whole as a result of untreated mental
illnesses that can also cause or contribute to accidents, job
dissatisfaction, interpersonal conflict, turnover, disability,
workers' compensation, involvement with the criminal justice system,
disrupted lives and families, and increased dependency on public
resources. By providing comparable coverage for mental health and
substance abuse services for all using the Family Health Plus
Program, mental illness and substance abuse can be diagnosed and
treated quickly and thoroughly, thus placing less of a burden on
public resources and businesses.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2011-12: S.1237 - Died in Social Services
2010: S.7550 - (Duane) - Died in Finance

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

Minimal.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

April 1st of the year next succeeding enactment.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   825

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Health

AN ACT to amend the social services law,  in  relation  to  establishing
  mental health parity in public health insurance plans

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Subparagraph (ix) of paragraph  (e)  of  subdivision  1  of
section  369-ee of the social services law, as added by chapter 1 of the
laws of 1999, is amended to read as follows:
  (ix) inpatient and outpatient mental health and alcohol and  substance
abuse  services,  as defined by the commissioner, PROVIDED THAT COVERAGE
FOR MENTAL  HEALTH,  ALCOHOL  AND  SUBSTANCE  ABUSE  SERVICES  SHALL  BE
PROVIDED  ON  THE  SAME  TERMS  AND CONDITIONS AS THE COVERAGE FOR OTHER
COVERED HEALTH CARE SERVICES;
  S 2. The commissioner of health is authorized to submit amendments  to
the  state  plan  for medical assistance and submit one or more applica-
tions for waivers of the federal social security act as may be necessary
to obtain the federal approvals necessary to implement this chapter.
  S 3. This act shall take effect on the first of April next  succeeding
the date on which it shall have become a law.




 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02903-01-3

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