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CBH Care executive endorses legislation requiring insurance companies to pay for mental health services

NJBIZ - 4/11/2019

Sue Devlin, executive director of the Hackensack-based CBH Care, issued the following statement supporting legislation Assembly Bill 2031 requiring insurance companies to pay for mental health services at a comparable cost to physical health care.
A2031 requires coverage for all mental illnesses defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the reference guide for mental health practitioners. Under the new legislation, the state Department of Banking and Insurance would be authorized to fine companies if they violate the law.
The legislation has passed both the state Senate and the Assembly, and currently awaits Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature.
The bill states: "Every individual and group hospital service corporation contract that provides hospital or medical expense benefits and is delivered, issued, executed or renewed in this State or approved for issuance or renewal in this State by the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance, on or after the effective date of this act shall provide coverage for [biologically-based mental illness] medically necessary behavioral health care services and autism under the same terms and conditions as provided for any other sickness under the contract and shall meet the requirements of the federal Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008."
“I commend the State Senate and Assembly for passing this common-sense legislation that recognizes mental health issues cannot simply be swept under the rug. This is the exact reason the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 were passed, but insurance companies still have denied coverage for patients with conditions ranging from seasonal depression to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, denying access to top-rated prescription drugs, and only paid for generic or less proven medications," Devlin said.
"I know, from the 4,000 consumers we serve every year at CBH Care, how important access to therapy sessions and the proper medications, rather than the cheapest ones, can be in managing mental health disorders and preventing mental health crises. I encourage Gov. Murphy to sign this responsible legislation that, if enforced, will save hundreds of lives and improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of New Jersey families affected by mental illness,” she added.
CBH Care is a community mental and behavioral health service that provides assistance to more than 200 outpatients.

CREDIT: Anthony Vecchione