Contact Your Legislator About Drug Bill

To The Reader’s Forum:

As the Legislature debates new bills, one of particular importance is the Drug Treatment Bill, A7003-A and S4623-A introduced by Assemblyman Michael Cusick, D-Staten Island, and Senator Kemp Hannon, R-Nassau, respectively.

The purpose of the bill is to ensure that patients suffering from drug and alcohol dependency receive proper medical coverage, including immediate residential treatment, as prescribed by their physicians. Under current practice by health insurers it is not unusual for insured patients to be denied timely residential coverage in an attempt to curb costs. However, patients with the ability to marshal the requisite energy and challenge coverage denial in addition to combating their health crisis can expect a 70% success rate in reversing the original denials. This statistic excludes patients who give up midway due to administrative exhaustion and unending insurance company runarounds. As a result, the statistical success rate in challenging healthcare providers is actually much higher than 70%. The overwhelming success rate for those contesting the denial of health care coverage leads cleanly and unambiguously to one fact: the insurers are denying legitimate healthcare claims while collecting handsome healthcare premiums from New Yorkers across the state which is asymmetric, patently unfair and at odds with enlightened public policy.

As you know New York (and all other states) is experiencing an epidemic of heroin and drug abuse, as well as alcohol abuse, especially among the young. It is both a family and community tragedy that has no boundaries, and is growing at an alarming rate among all ethnicities, all geographies and all incomes. If this healthcare crisis has not visited your home or extended family you are indeed fortunate; however, it is not far away and it most certainly has visited your street, your neighborhood and your schools.

I urge you to contact your state legislator in the NYS Assembly and NYS Senate to support the Drug Treatment bill and request the bill be moved from their respective insurance committees for a full legislative vote where there is much support. Early medical treatment is the best chance we have in saving our most precious resource, our children and young adults, and in doing so tomorrow’s future.

Michael Rinella