‘Mental Health Parity’ Bill Co-Sponsored By Danielsen Gets Legislative Approval

A bill co-sponsored by state Assemblyman Joe Danielsen (D-17) designed to expand health insurance coverage for behavioral health care services and enhance enforcement and oversight of mental health parity was approved March 26 by a vote of 73-3.

The bill, A-2031, would require plans to provide coverage for medically necessary behavioral health care services and to meet the requirements of a 2008 federal law, which prevents certain health insurers that provide mental or substance use disorder benefits from imposing less favorable benefit limitations on those benefits than on medical or surgical benefits, commonly referred to as mental health parity, according to a press release from the state Democrats.

“Mental illness doesn’t just impact the person who is struggling with the disease,” Danielsen said in the release. “It is in the best interest of society, as well as the individual, to ensure that these illnesses are covered, and those that need treatment have access to it.”

The bill would expand health coverage to include “behavioral health care services,” which is defined in the legislation as procedures or services rendered by a health care provider or health care facility for the treatment of mental illness, emotional disorders, or drug or alcohol abuse, and autism, according to the release.

The bill was also sponsored by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19) and Assembly members Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37), Pamela Lampitt (D-6), Joann Downey (D-11), Annette Quijano (D-20) and Mila Jasey (D-27).

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk for his action.


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