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BUSCHING-KAPOCHUNAS FINAL

2/4/2009 1:59:19 AM

2008]

TIMOTHY’S LAW

613

employers.77

Three of these explanations are beyond the scope of this Note, but the second explanation, lack of public knowledge regarding improved coverage, is addressed and highly relevant to the subject herein. The arduous journey of Timothy’s Law, discussed fully supra Part I, details the public support and celebration accompanying its well-publicized passage from a bill into a law. This grassroots support of Timothy’s Law galvanized the people of New York in a manner unlike any other state’s mental health parity law, and should Timothy’s Law show increased utilization of mental health care services at a far higher rate than Bao and Sturm’s research results, the remaining states would have a clear idea of how to make their existing parity laws more effective.

The New York Insurance Department issued a regulation ordering the publication of Timothy’s Law by February 15, 2007.78 Specifically, insurers must provide written notice to all policyholders affected by Timothy’s Law of the change in insurance law and set up a toll-free customer service telephone number enabling insurees to contact their insurer for Timothy’s Law-related inquiries.79 This regulation was issued with the expressed intention to notify individuals affected by Timothy’s Law of their new benefits.80 A preliminary study by the New

York State Department of regulation, many New Yorkers

health

benefits.81

This

study

Insurance surmised that despite this may still be unaware of their new mental was released only six months after the

implementation of Timothy’s Law, so more time determine its effects on mental health utilization. 82 is

needed

to

accurately

Despite the under-utilization of mental health services that become available with parity laws, research on public opinion has shown

77. Id. at 1375. An earlier study using a smaller data set found similar results, and the researchers came to the same conclusions as to how state parity laws are “not associated with a significant increase in any of our measures of mental health services utilization.” Rosalie Liccardo Pacula & Roland Sturm, Mental Health Parity Legislation: Much Ado About Nothing?, 35 HEALTH SERVS. RES. 263, 263 (2000). This study used data from 1997 through 1999, as opposed to the larger timeline of 1997 through 2001 in the Bao & Sturm study. Id. at 265-66; Bao & Sturm, supra note 69, at 1363.

  • 78.

    N.Y. COMP. CODES R. & REGS. tit. 11, § 52.70(d)(9) (2007).

  • 79.

    Id. Insurers must also inform those affected that they should expect to receive a “formal

contract or certificate amendment,” with more comprehensive detail of the benefits. Id.

8 0 . S e e I n s u r a n c e C o m p a n i e s O r d e r e d t o T e l l C u s t o m e r s A b o u t T i m o t h y s L a w , s u p r a n o t 28. e

81. See Gale Scott, Mandated Mental Health Coverage Fails to Cause Stir: No Spike in Care or Rate Increases Seen Resulting from Timothy’s Law, CRAINS N.Y. BUS., July 23, 2007, available at 2007 WLNR 14463667.

82. See id.

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