Timothy’s Law

Advocacy/Policy
Written in: January 2016


LIRA worked feverishly for over three years in support of Timothy’s Law and despite our relentless efforts a compromise was reached which excluded coverage for addiction treatment. While we are pleased that progress was made and those with mental health issues, including MICA (dual diagnosis) have gained additional coverage, we will continue to do battle to gain equality for chemically dependent people.

Timothy’s Law is named after Timothy O’Clair, a Schenectady boy who completed suicide in 2001, seven weeks prior to his 13th birthday. His suicide was attributed to the discrimination that he faced at the hands of his parent’s insurance company, discrimination that exists throughout every private insurance plan in New York State. In order to help prevent other families from having to live through this scenario, the O’Clair family has taken on a personal crusade to change the laws as they relate to the provision of mental health and substance abuse services in private insurance plans throughout New York. This extremely courageous and selfless act has resulted in what we now know as Timothy’s Law, which prevents discrimination by prohibiting insurance companies from limiting coverage for mental illness (The law currently does not cover substance abuse disorders).

This website was designed as a tool to help spread the word about Timothy’s Law, and to aid the O’Clairs in their quest to pass this life-saving measure. Please take a few minutes to peruse this resource; sign up for Timothy’s Team, which will provide you with occasional updates about the status of Timothy’s Law and activities you can undertake to help strengthen this law.