Assemblywoman Lupardo to Discuss Timothy’s Law

Will interview Tom O’Clair, Timothy’s father

BINGHAMTON – Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) will discuss Timothy’s Law (A.2912) with Tom O’Clair, Timothy’s father. The interview will be televised on Time Warner Cable channel 12 at 7:00pm, Tuesday, March 15, 2005.

Timothy’s Law is named after Timothy O’Clair, who committed suicide just before his thirteenth birthday. Coverage limits forced his parents to relinquish custody of their son to the state in order to get him the treatment he needed. The bill would require parity in coverage for mental health and chemical and substance abuse treatment provided by insurers.

"This bill will establish the right of individuals who suffer from mental illness or chemical dependency to receive the same level of coverage and treatment as those afflicted with physical ailments," Lupardo said.

Under current law, insurance companies that offer policies of health insurance coverage may deny coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses and chemical dependency. In addition, insurance companies that do offer policies covering these areas may place a limit on the number of days or visits permitted and may also charge higher prices for the coverage of mental illnesses or substance abuse than for non-mental health services.

While health insurance contracts are currently required to partially cover substance abuse treatment, there is no mandated insurance coverage of substance abuse rehabilitation. This bill mandates equal insurance coverage and payment rates for the diagnosis and treatment of mental health and substance abuse services as provided for other health services.