Legislation addresses mental health care in Pennsylvania

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Two bills addressing mental health care in Pennsylvania recently were sent to Gov. Tom Wolf to be signed into law.

House Bill 1439 amends The Insurance Company Law of 1921 to assure that residents purchasing health insurance plans have coverage for addiction treatment.

“People who try to access mental health and substance abuse issues face many obstacles to access the coverage they already have,” Rep. Aaron Kaufer’s (R-Luzerne), who introduced the bill, said. “This legislation, when it is signed into law, will help streamline the assistance available to the most vulnerable. This is a major step to ensure that those struggling with mental health, behavioral health, and substance abuse issues will receive the support they have already paid for and be able to access these programs.”

House Bill 1696 amends the insurance statues to require insurance companies to file an annual report with the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance detailing how they offer mental health coverage at the same level as medical and surgical benefits.

The bill also requires insurance carriers that cover behavioral health to submit an annual report to the Department of Insurance. This is to ensure the carrier is compliant with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

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