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BUSCHING-KAPOCHUNAS FINAL

2/4/2009 1:59:19 AM

622

HOFSTRA LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW JOURNAL

[Vol. 25:601

In 1998, South Dakota enacted one of the

health states:

parity

laws

in

the

United

States.143

The

most concise mental statute in its entirety

Every policy of health insurance that is delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state, except for policies that provide coverage for specified disease or other limited benefit coverage, shall provide, in writing, coverage for the treatment and diagnosis of biologically-based mental illnesses with the same dollar limits, deductibles, coinsurance factors, and restrictions as for other covered illnesses. The term, biologically-based mental illness, means schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, major depression, and obsessive- compulsive disorder. 144

South Dakota’s law, like Timothy’s Law, makes no reference whatsoever to the DSM, instead it relies on a short list of general mental conditions that fall under the statutory definition of “mental illness.” 145

Vermont’s mental health parity law146 is one of the most wide- reaching in the nation,147 requiring full parity for the treatment of all

mental illnesses substance abuse

listed in the

DSM,148 in

addition to

alcohol and

treatment.149

The statute

also provides

that mental

health conditions shall not be subject to different rates or would prove financially burdensome to the insured; a stark from the limitations present in Illinois’ parity law. 150

terms that difference

Nebraska’s mental health parity law is very limited in scope when compared to other states, as it allows insurance providers to give no coverage whatsoever for mental illnesses, as long as they “provide clear and prominent notice of such noncoverage in the plan.”151 Therefore, should a Nebraska insurance provider choose to provide coverage for mental illness treatment, a decision made entirely on their own accord,

  • 143.

    § 58-17-98.

  • 144.

    § 58-17-98.

  • 145.

    Compare, § 58-17-98, with N.Y. INS. LAW § 3221(l)(5)(B)(ii) (McKinney 2008),

(providing a short and generalized list of “mental illnesses”).

  • 146.

    VT. STAT. ANN. tit. 8, § 4089b (2006), amended by 2006 Vt. Acts & Resolves 129 H. 404.

  • 147.

    29 AM. J.L. & MED. 185, 191 (2003).

  • 148.

    § 4089b(a)(2).

  • 149.

    See § 4089b(e)(2)(A)-(B).

  • 150.

    Compare § 4089b(b)(1) (stating that all rates/terms must be equal), with 215 ILL. COMP.

STAT. ANN. 5/370c(a)(1)-(b)(2)(ii) (West Supp. 2007) (allowing insurers to create varying rates). The Vermont statute explicitly states that all rates/terms must be equal, while the Illinois statute allows insurers to create varying rates.

151. NEB. REV. STAT. ANN. §§ 44-791 to 795 (Lexis Nexis 2006); § 44-793(1)(b).

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