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Monday, February 25, 2013

New Federal Rule Requires Insurers to Offer Mental Health Coverage

By ROBERT PEAR
The New York Times
Published: February 20, 2013

The Obama administration issued a final rule on Wednesday defining “essential health benefits” that must be offered by most health insurance plans next year, and it said that 32 million people would gain access to coverage of mental health care as a result.

The federal rule requires insurers to cover treatment of mental illnesses, behavioral disorders, drug addiction and alcohol abuse, and other conditions.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said that in addition to the millions who would gain access to mental health care, 30 million people who already have some mental health coverage will see improvements in benefits.

White House officials described the rule as a major expansion of coverage. In the past, they said, nearly 20 percent of people buying insurance on their own did not have coverage for mental health services, and nearly one-third had no coverage for treatment of substance abuse.

The entire story is here.

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