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New Oklahoma law will require mental health parity in health insurance - 5/20/2020

Health insurance companies will be required to cover mental health and substance use disorders the same way they cover physical ailments under a new state law.

Gov. Kevin Stitt on Tuesday signed legislation to require companies that offer health coverage and are regulated by the state insurance department to follow federal laws on parity in the health care industry.

Senate Bill 1718 tasks Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready with ensuring all in-state health plans comply with a 2008 federal law signed by President George W. Bush that calls for financial parity.

Despite federal requirements, many states, and the country as a whole, still struggle to provide equal coverage for mental health and substance use treatment. This inequality can come in the form of fewer in-network physicians or unequal reimbursement rates for behavioral health compared to physical health.

Insurance companies that offer mental health or substance use disorder plans also would have to report annually to the Insurance Commissioner the process by which they determine the criteria for mental health benefits and the criteria for medical and surgical benefits.

The department would be required to make the reports public by June 1, 2021, and every June thereafter.

This law will take effect Nov. 1.

About OrionNet Systems

OrionNet is an Oklahoma small business founded in 2001. OrionNet has designed, developed and supported applications created both for the client-server and web environments, as well as developing, marketing and supporting a commercial application for the counseling centers industry.

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