Senate Passes Mental Health
By Kap Su Seol
The Senate has passed an amendment requiring group health insurance plans that cover mental illness to provide benefits on a par with what they provide for physical illness.
The original legislation, passed by a majority voice vote as an amendment in the 1996 appropriations bill for the departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services, does not require employers to offer mental health coverage as part of employee health benefits.
The amendment applies to group health plans already providing mental health benefits. Companies must provide the same level of coverage for mental health as they do for physical health needs ranging from routine checkups to major surgery.