June 29, 2007

Mental health Insurance Coverage Progress in North Carolina

New Legislation in North Carolina that would require private insurers to cover mental health costs appears on its way to approval.

Known as the mental health parity bill, it passed the Senate Health Committee with a unanimous voice vote Wednesday. It requires insurers to cover the cost of treatment for psychiatric diseases roughly as they would for physical diseases.

Debates and battles over health care legislation with similar aims is ongoing in Congress. About half the states have adopted similar legislation over the past decade.

The North Carolina bill is considered a major reform and a step toward ending discrimination against those with psychiatric diseases by mental health providers and advocates. However, they point out, the bill doesn't cover treatment for alcoholism and substance abuse.

However, insurers would have to fully pay with no time limits for nine of the most serious mental health problems - including schizophrenia, bulimia and major depressive disorder.

Read More: Mental health coverage backed


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