—The Senate has unanimously passed legislation sponsored by Rep. Tom Murt (R-Montgomery/Philadelphia) to require insurance companies to show the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance they are offering mental health coverage at the same level as coverage for physical illness.
The bill now moves to the governor for his signature.
The federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which passed the House in May and became law, requires large group mental health insurance policies to provide mental health/substance use disorder benefits equal to medical and surgical benefits.
“While the federal law was a step in the right direction, enforcement has not always resulted in true parity and equivalence of care,” Murt said.
House Bill 1696
would require insurers to file an annual report with the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance detailing how they offer mental health coverage at the same level as medical and surgical benefits.
Murt’s bill would also require insurance carriers in the Commonwealth that cover behavioral health to submit information each year to the Department of Insurance to help the department ascertain if the insurance carrier is being compliant with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
The bill will not require insurance companies to cover any condition or illness that they do not already cover. There is no mandate nor extension of status quo coverage.
Representative Thomas P. Murt, Ed.D.
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster