The new mental health parity bill signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy earlier this month aims to improve accountability among insurance providers for mental health and substance abuse patients. The signing has also been hailed by proponents as an important step to providing essential care to mental health patients and those struggling with substance abuse. Historically, thousands of patients dealing with mental health or substance-related issues were required to pay significant costs personally even though they had existing health insurance coverage.
Increased Coverage and Accountability from Insurance Companies
The new law requires health insurers to treat mental health and substance-use clients the same way as any other illness. As a result, it brings them up to par with the federal 2008 Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act bill. In addition, the law requires that insurance providers produce an annual accounting to the government. As a result, this will ensure complete compliance with new regulations. The report is also designed to improve transparency in coverage so public leaders can have proper oversight of how insurance companies are operating in the state.
Many patients have reported receiving inadequate care for their health issues. This is because they have to deal with lower health insurance coverage rates or cannot personally pay for care. As a result, the new law should erase any coverage limits that are not at parity with other health conditions. In addition, insurance companies will have to offer similar adjustments to public and private organizations.
New Law Provides Benefits to Patients
Mental health and substance abuse patients should see immediate benefits after the law takes effect 60 days after its signing. For decades, mental health disorders or drug addiction has been treated as a self-inflicted affliction. Patients have also worked hard to overcome the stigma attached to their conditions. Because of this, the law should help eradicate any thought that they are somehow less deserving of full and proper healthcare and insurance coverage. It will free up resources to individuals and families that will help them get on the road to recovery faster.
Parity for Mental Health Patients
The mental health parity bill is a positive development for mental health patients and persons with substance usage issues. It could also improve legal options for patients currently involved with or considering disputes against insurance companies over their coverage tied to these conditions. The attorneys at Bowne-Barry & Barry are on hand to aid mental health professionals with regards to changes in legislation that could affect their practices or those to whom they provide care. Contact our team to talk about how we help.