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Brain with gears The bill would require health plans to determine medical necessity by following “current generally accepted standards of mental health and substance use disorder care.”

A newly revised bill out of the California State Legislature expands the scope of mental health care covered by insurance. As of 2021, insurers will be required to cover treatment for mental health and substance abuse disorders to the same extent as other illnesses.

The California Mental Health Parity Act was first passed over 20 years ago. It required that every health or disability insurance plan that offers hospital, medical, or surgical coverage also cover the “diagnosis and medically necessary treatment” of nine mental illnesses. That limitation “fails to encompass the range of mental health and substance use disorders whose complex interactions are contributing to overdose deaths from opioids and methamphetamines, the increase in suicides, and other so-called deaths of despair,” according to the revised bill, introduced by Sen. Scott Wiener.

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