National Alliance on Mental Illness
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April 26, 2006

Senate Health Insurance Legislation Places State Parity Laws At Risk

Legislation now before the U.S. Senate would place at risk the 39 existing state laws that require health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses.  The legislation, known as the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (S 1955), is intended to make health insurance more affordable to small employers.  While NAMI supports this laudable goal, the bill includes provisions that would allow most employers to offer health plans that do not have to comply with existing state parity requirements. 

S 1955 was reported by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee on March 15, 2006.  It may called up before the full Senate sometime soon.  If the bill remains in its current form -- and allows for a massive new loophole for health plans to avoid compliance with mental illness insurance parity laws -- NAMI will continue to oppose it.

Read the letter from the Mental Health Liaison Group to Senate leadership.