New York Fines 15 Insurers Over Mental Health Notices

May 10, 2012

New York regulators have fined 15 insurers $2.7 million for failing to notify small businesses they were eligible to buy special coverage for mental illnesses and children with serious emotional disturbances.

Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky says they are the first fines under Timothy’s Law, named for a teen who committed suicide after his parents were unable to obtain needed mental health treatment. The law took effect in 2007.

The law requires insurers give small employers the option of purchasing the mental health benefits when they buy or renew basic health insurance plans.

Insurers say the violations in 2009 and 2010 were unintentional and they have taken steps to prevent recurrences.

Fines include $1.3 million for Oxford, nearly $500,000 for Empire, and more than $200,000 each for HealthNet and MVP.

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