Texas House Bill Would Help Make Sure Your Insurance Also Covers Mental Health Benefits

“Enforcing mental health coverage on par or in parity with physical health coverage is not a new idea.”

By Lauren SilvermanMay 3, 2017 10:19 am| , ,

From KERA News:

Nine in 10 Texans think it’s harder to talk about a mental health condition than a physical health issue. The one place where it’s easier to talk about mental rather than physical health seems to be in the Texas Legislature, where a handful of bills are speeding through the House with near unanimous support. Among them is a bill to help enforce coverage of mental health benefits.

Getting mental health care coverage

Here’s the idea behind what’s called parity for mental health coverage: If your health insurance covers cancer treatment, it should also cover treatment for depression or addiction.

“Enforcing mental health coverage on par or in parity with physical health coverage is not a new idea,” says Texas State Rep. Four Price of Amarillo. “However, it’s really the enforcement of it is where some gaps in coverage has existed.”

Price, a Republican, is chairman of the House Public Health Committee. After being appointed by Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, he spent months researching weaknesses in the state’s mental health system. The conclusion? People across the state have coverage for mental health care but aren’t getting it. State and federal parity laws, which were expanded under the Affordable Care Act, make it illegal to handle mental health differently than physical health. For example, if a copay for a doctor’s visit is $20, a psychiatrist visit shouldn’t be $40.

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