HARRISBURG, Pa., June 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- State Representative Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery County) will be joined by providers, individuals with mental health conditions, family members, and advocates from across the Commonwealth on June 13, 2016, to announce that he is introducing a bill to enforce insurance parity for mental health and substance use disorders in Pennsylvania. Coalition members will gather in the Main Rotunda of the State Capitol at 10 a.m. Monday.
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 made it illegal for most insurance plans to discriminate by offering less generous benefits for behavioral health conditions than for physical health conditions. Unfortunately, nearly eight years after President Bush signed the law, parity violations still plague our insurance system.
Enforcement of the federal law has lagged in Pennsylvania, despite the efforts of human services organizations and the Pennsylvania Parity Implementation Coalition (PPIC) to bring attention to the issue. The PPIC endorses the legislation and sees it as an important step towards ensuring that Pennsylvanians can fully access the care they are legally entitled to.
"This legislation places no new benefit requirements on insurance companies," said Alyssa Schatz, vice president of advocacy and policy for the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania (MHASP). "It simply allows the state to track compliance with existing law."
"Unfortunately, we still see parity violations in our insurance system today," she continued. "This legislation has the potential to root out unfair practices and improve access to behavioral health services for all Pennsylvanians in need."
"One of the areas we continue to have concerns about are the so-called 'non-quantitative treatment limitations.' These are the procedures insurers use for pre-authorization and reviews to approve or deny claims," said Richard Edley, CEO of The Rehabilitation & Community Providers Association.
"That's important," Schatz said, "given that organizations like MHASP receive calls regularly about potential Parity violations."
"We applaud Representative Murt for his leadership, and for his commitment to protecting the rights of citizens with behavioral health challenges," said Lynn Keltz, executive director of the Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association. "This is truly important behavioral health legislation in Pennsylvania."
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SOURCE Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania