Lawmakers Make A Final Push For Mental Health Bill

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The financial rescue package headed to the House Friday could also help people who struggle with affording mental health care.

That's because mental health protections have been injected into the massive bill designed to help the economy.

The legislation doesn't mandate that group health plans cover mental health or addiction treatment. It just specifies that when plans do, the coverage must be equal to other medical coverage. Right now, it is not uncommon for people to pay higher co-pays or deductibles for mental health treatments.

The requirement for equal treatment in insurance coverage would apply to health plans that cover more than 50 employees, potentially reaching 113 million people nationwide.

Health officials contend that equal protections for mental health conditions would lead to a healthier, more productive work force.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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