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mental illnesses that could cause or “contribute to accidents, job turnover, interpersonal conflict, disability, worker’s compensation, involvement with the criminal justice system, disrupted lives and families, and increased dependency on public resources.”36
These issues affected individuals, employers, all levels of government, and society as a whole. Some employers have reported that “costs associated with untreated or poorly managed mental health needs far exceed[ed] direct spending for mental health care.”37 The data has shown that in 1995 treatment was the source of twenty-eight percent of the annual economic costs of depression, however seventy-two percent of costs were related to absenteeism (twenty-seven percent), lost productivity at work (twenty-eight percent), and mortality costs (seventeen percent).38 These numbers were staggering when contrasted with the small costs, and in some states actual savings, of mandating mental health parity in insurance law.
The Unaffected Segment of the Population
It is important to consider that not all New Yorkers are covered by the changes in the Insurance Law that Timothy’s Law has implemented. Timothy’s law partially exempts all public employers, self-insured
employers, and employers of fifty or fewer individuals.39
worried that Timothy’s Law will result in companies losing enormous amounts of money financing the treatment of employees with severe mental illness must be reminded that employers must first hire these mentally ill individuals, but individuals with severe mental illnesses have a much higher unemployment rate than the rest of the population.40 Covering the unemployed, severely mentally ill segment of society
Equal Mental Health Benefits, supra note 34.
Timothy’s Law, ch. 748, sec. 1, § 8, 2006 N.Y. Laws at 3718, 20, 22; see also Nat’l
Alliance on Mental Illness of N.Y. City Metro, Inc., Timothy’s Law: New York State’s Mental Health Parity Law, http://www.naminycmetro.org/TLC.htm (last visited July 14, 2008). 40. See, e.g., Center for Mental Health Servs., U.S. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs.,
http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/cmhs/CommunitySupport/about.asp (last visited July 13, 2008) (highlighting “an overall national employment rate of 26 percent among a representative sample of persons with severe [mental] disabilities.”); Nat’l Inst. Of Mental Health, Implementing Evidence Based Practices in New York: Outreach Partnership Program 2005 Annual Meeting, Apr. 2, 2005, available at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/outreach/partners/myers2005.cfm (last visited July 13, 2008) (stating that of the 70% of adults with serious mental illnesses that want to work, only 15% are able to find employment).