The White House proposed a set of rules on Tuesday to improve insurance coverage for mental-health conditions, part of a broader plan to fight rising rates of anxiety, depression and other ailments.

The rules would make it harder for insurers to skirt a federal law that requires them to offer the same type of coverage for mental-health issues as for physical ones. The proposals would also expand the reach of the law to state and local government health plans, a change that the White House estimates would affect about 90,000 workers.

Mental-health disorder rates spiked worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the World Health Organization, and a recent survey found that an “unprecedented” wave of psychological and substance-abuse issues was overwhelming US cities. Yet a 2021 study showed fewer than half of US adults with a mental illness got treatment, which the White House partly blamed on poor insurance coverage.

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