Back in October, Bob reported that New York's newest mandated benefit, the Mental Health Parity Act (aka "Timothy's Law") would take effect with the new year.
And so it has.
Beginning some 5 weeks ago, carriers who want to continue marketing in the Empire State must cover mental health claims much the same as they cover any "regular" medical condition. As Bob pointed out, New York's version of MHP is particularly draconian, because it lacks a safety valve that would help contain runaway costs.
The new law mandates that health plans include 30 or more days of active inpatient care, as well as at least 20 days of active outpatient treatment, per year. In addition, mid-sized group (50 or more covered lives) plans have to cover:
■ major depression
■ obsessive compulsive disorders (Hello, Monk!)
■ bulimia AND anorexia
■ serious cases of attention deficit disorders in children
■ disruptive disorders
■ pervasive development disorders
As you can imagine, this won't come cheap. "But Prof," you might object, "the state general fund is supposed to help subsidize small employers’ purchases of the new mental health benefits!"
Um, who funds the general fund?
That is correct: the taxpayer.
So once again, we have the state foisting extraneous coverage onto an unsuspecting public, which will cause rates (and taxes) to increase.
But hey, it's for a good cause.