Rhode Island legislators introduce bill to enhance mental health and substance abuse insurance coverage

Rhode Island Lawmakers Propose Bill for Improved Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Coverage under Health Insurance

Rhode Island lawmakers are pushing for better mental health and substance abuse treatment coverage under health insurance with new legislation. Representative Teresa Tanzi of South Kingstown and Senator Linda Ujifusa of Portsmouth have introduced a bill that aims to address the issue of inadequate coverage for chronic or pervasive mental and substance use disorders.

Under the proposed law, insurers would be required to provide the same level of coverage for these disorders as they do for acute or short-term treatment. This measure would help ensure that individuals struggling with these conditions can access the necessary care without facing financial barriers.

Additionally, the legislation prohibits insurers from imposing a “prior authorization” requirement before patients can seek treatment for mental or substance abuse disorders. This administrative process is often seen as a barrier to accessing necessary care by behavioral health advocates. By removing this requirement, individuals seeking help will have more freedom to seek out the care they need without unnecessary red tape.

The Mental Health Association of Rhode Island and other behavioral health care providers have expressed support for the bill, highlighting the growing need to address the rising mental health and substance abuse challenges following the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar laws have been implemented in four other states, emphasizing the importance of addressing these issues now to prevent more severe and costly problems in the future.

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