Legislation recently advanced in the Pennsylvania House would require insurance companies to prove they are covering mental health with the same parity as physical illnesses.
Under the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, large group mental health insurance policies are required to cover mental health/substance use disorder benefits on parity with medical and surgical benefits.
Pennsylvania House Bill 1696 would require health insurance companies to file an annual report with the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance. The report would detail how mental health is covered equally with medical and surgical benefits.
Additionally, insurance carriers that cover behavioral health would be required to submit information to the Department of Insurance annually. The information will be used to determine whether the carrier is compliant with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
Companies would not be required to cover illnesses or conditions not already covered by their plans.
“While the federal law was a step in the right direction, enforcement has not always resulted in true parity and equivalence of care,” Rep. Tom Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia), who introduced the bill, said. “Sadly, many people who need mental health care are often incapable of complaining because they are actively in crisis.”