The Business Council opposes this legislation, which would make Timothy's Law permanent and require the state Office of Mental Health to prepare a report on the effectiveness of this mental health mandate. It would be premature to make Timothy's Law permanent before the Insurance Department's study of the mandate's effectiveness, which is due on or before April 30, 2009, is complete.
It should be further noted that the aforementioned and anticipated report from the Insurance Department must be prepared in consultation with the state Office of Mental Health. An additional report by the state Office of Mental Health would be duplicative and an unwise use of the state's limited resources.
Timothy's Law, which is set to expire on December 31, 2009, requires that the Superintendent of Insurance, in consultation with the state Office of Mental Health, prepare an analysis of the effectiveness of Timothy's Law, including but not limited to:
- A comprehensive analysis of the costs associated with providing coverage through Timothy's Law;
- The number of policyholders and group contract holders that have elected to purchase other mental health coverage that was required to be made available; and
- A comparison of the type and number of illnesses for which coverage has been provided.
The analysis and report should be completed and the impact of the changes to federal the mental health parity law should be evaluated before considering making Timothy's Law permanent. These and other findings should be used to inform any policy dialogue on the future of Timothy's Law in particular and mental health coverage in general.
For the reasons described above, The Business Council respectfully recommends that S.1646 / A.5659 be held in committee.