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[Vol. 25:601

mandated or regulated mental health benefits.125

These laws can be

generally divided into minimum mandated

three categories: (1) mental health benefit laws, and

health parity laws, (2) (3) mandated health

offering laws.126 As Timothy’s Law falls under the health parity law,”127 the following is a sample of

category of “mental other states’ mental

health parity laws and how they compare to Timothy’s Law. Most these laws define “mental illness” according to the definition found the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (“DSM”), published by the American Psychiatric Association. 128

of in as

The Arkansas Mental Health Parity Act129 was created to make “insurance coverage for mental illnesses and . . . mental health treatment . . . available and at parity with that for other medical illnesses.”130 The

125. See Nat’l Conf. of State Legs. Health Care: State Laws Mandating or Regulating Mental Health Benefits (July 2007), http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/mentalben.htm [hereinafter Nat’l Conf. of State Legs.]; See, e.g., ARIZ. REV. STAT. ANN. § 20-2322 (2006); Arkansas Mental Health Parity Act, ARK. CODE ANN. §§ 23-99-501to 502 (2006); CAL. INS. CODE § 10144.5 (West 2005); COLO. REV. STAT. ANN. § 10-16-104(5) (West 2006); CONN. GEN. STAT. ANN. §§ 38a-488a(a), 38a-514(a) (West 2007); DEL. CODE ANN. tit. 18, § 3343(b) (2006); FLA. STAT. ANN. § 627.668 (West 2005); GA. CODE ANN. § 33-24-28.1(b), 33-24-29(c) (2005); HAW. REV. STAT. § 431M-5(c) (2005); 215 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 5/370c (West 2000); IND. CODE ANN. § 27-13-7-14.7 (West


Other states with laws regulating mental health include Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky,

Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. See Nat’l

Conf. of State Legs., supra. 126. Nat’l Conf. of State Legs., supra note 125

. The most progressive mental health parity

laws require insurers to provide the same benefits for mental illnesses as are provided for all other physical illnesses. See John V. Jacobi, Parity and Difference: The Value of Parity Legislation for the Seriously Mentally Ill, 29 AM. J.L. & MED. 185, 190 (2003). Minimum mandated health benefit laws allow for variations between the benefits provided mental and physical illnesses, but establish a baseline level of benefits for mental illnesses that an insurer must provide for. Id. Mandated offering laws either require that the insurer provide an option of mental health coverage (at a higher premium, if they so desire), or require that if the insurer chooses to offer coverage for mental health benefits, the coverage must be equal to that for physical illnesses. Id. at 191; see also Nat’l Conf. of State Legs., supra note 125.

127. Timothy’s Law, ch. 748, sec. 1, § 8, 2006 N.Y. Laws at 3717. (“[I]t is the intent of this legislation . . . to ensure that mental health coverage is provided by insurers and health maintenance organizations, and is provided on terms comparable to other health care and medical services.” (emphasis added)). As explained, supra note 126, laws requiring equal/comparable benefits for physical and mental illnesses are classified as mental health parity laws.

128. Compare N.H. REV. STAT. ANN. § 417-E:1(III) (2006), with 215 ILL. COMP. STAT. ANN. 5/370c(b)(2).

129. 130. Assembly overview

Arkansas Mental Health Parity Act, ARK. CODE ANN. § 23-99-501 (LexisNexis 2004).


See also Teri Chastain Wadley, Survey

  • Insurance




of Legislation REV. 481, 483

1997 Arkansas General (1998) (providing a brief

of Arkansas Mental Health Parity Act).

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