New Federal Law Requires Better Health Coverage For Mental Illness
There is reason for optimism for insured individuals receiving treatment for a mental illness or substance abuse problem. The President just signed into law a bill that was 10 years in the making. It will “require that group health insurance coverage for mental illness and substance abuse be provided on the same terms as coverage for physical illnesses.” Although the bill will not require that mental illness and substance abuse coverage be added to group health plans, it will require that existing coverage for psychological illnesses be no more restrictive than coverage for physical illnesses.
The Bill passed in the House of Representatives by a large margin, and was approved by the Senate. On October 3, 2008, President George W. Bush signed it into law. The act is known as “The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.” Congress joined the parity bill with the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, the legislation created to address the economic crisis. The Senate passed the same version of the act earlier in the week.