Senate Approves Bills to Strengthen Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Coverage in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG – The State Senate approved legislation today to ensure that mental health and substance use disorders receive the same level of care as other health issues, according to Senator Mario Scavello (R-40).

Senator Scavello chairs the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, which approved the bills last month.

House Bill 1696 and House Bill 1439 would strengthen enforcement of the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 by ensuring insurance plans provide mental health care that is similar to coverage for other diseases and illnesses. The bills also require that insurers annually attest to the steps they have taken to comply with the law.

The current system of enforcement relies on addressing complaints from consumers who may not know about the law or fully understand the services that are included in their health plan. The package of bills would ensure all insurers offer customers the level of care and services that are required by law.

“This legislation solidifies the Insurance Department’s role in regulating insurer compliance with mental health parity and requires insurers to legally attest to compliance efforts and makes certain public disclosures of those efforts. It’s a second layer of accountability,” Scavello said. “Together, these bills will establish Pennsylvania as a leader in the regulation of insurer compliance with federal mental health parity.”

The measures will be sent to the governor to be signed into law.

 

CONTACT: Christine Zubeck czubeck@pasen.gov (717) 787-6123