Logo, The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care - Health Care Advocacy Group
(518) 462-2296
P.O. Box 1412
Albany, NY 12201

MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION

 

Bill: A.8301 ≠ An act to amend the insurance law, to prohibit the exclusion or limitation of benefits for mental illness and chemical dependency in certain health plans.

Mental Health Parity, also known as Timothyπs Law, is an overbroad mandate that will further erode private health insurance in New York and exacerbate the number of New Yorkers who have no health insurance coverage. The Employer Alliance for Affordable Health Care is a statewide 1,500-member coalition of employers. We oppose this and all health insurance mandates that contribute to New Yorkπs already high cost of health care for the following reasons:

I. A growing number of WORKING UNINSURED. There are three million people uninsured in New York State, and 75 percent of these individuals work full or part time. Legislative mandates exacerbate this problem by increasing the cost of health insurance premiums. A 2003 actuary study of ≥Mandated Health Insurance Benefits in New York State≤ concluded that legislative mandates are responsible for 12 percent of the premium total on every full-insured policy sold in New York State ($445 for individuals and $1,066 for a family policy). Passing A.8301 or any other mandate, will escalate premium costs even further and drive even more people into the ranks of the uninsured.

II. for many, obtaining affordable coverage is already a challenge. Companies that self-insure can keep the cost down by not providing mandates services. Those who fully-insure lack that luxury. As a result, most small business owners and sole proprietors have been forced to absorb double-digit premium increases for five consecutive years. The ability to purchase affordable health insurance for their employees and families is the greatest single concern among small business owners and sole proprietors in New York State. A recent poll by the National Federation of Independent Businesses found that this fear exceeds the long-time leading concern, business taxes.

III. Treatments are already available when necessary. New York currently mandates compassionate coverage for outpatient alcohol and substance abuse treatments and requires availability of mental health benefits.  Current statute mandates 60-days outpatient visits annually for alcohol/substance abuse treatments. All premium payers have access to additional coverage for mental health services ≠ and most companies (more than 90%) ≠ particularly large firms offer mental health and substance abuse coverage in their medical plans.  The only reason why many employers chose to limit mental health coverage is cost

For these reasons, the employer alliance for affordable health care opposes passage of A.8301.

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Employer Alliance For Affordable Health Care

PO Box 1412

Albany, New York 12201-1412

(518) 462-2296

employeralliance@yahoo.com

www.employeralliance.com

Scott Miller, Chairman

6/2004