NU Online News Service, Aug. 6, 12:25 p.m. – The National Association of Health Underwriters, Arlington, Va., says senators still have time to modify the new mental health parity bill, S. 543.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last week gave unanimous approval to the bill, which would require companies that offer mental health benefits to provide the same level of coverage for mental health as they do for physical health.
The existing mental health parity law, enacted in 1996, requires health plans that provide mental health benefits to provide equal annual and lifetime benefits for mental health benefits and other services. That law is set to expire Sept. 30.
“The new bill would keep health plans from imposing limits on hospital stays and physician visits for mental health treatment that are greater than those imposed for physical health visits, and require them to charge the same co-payments and deductibles for mental health services as they do for other medical services,” NAHU analysts write in their latest Washington update.