• Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Rhode Island Lawmakers Propose Bill to Address Insufficient Mental and Substance Abuse Treatment Coverage

BySamantha Jones

Apr 3, 2024
Rhode Island legislators introduce legislation to enhance mental health, substance abuse coverage

Two Rhode Island lawmakers have proposed new legislation to address the issue of inadequate mental and substance abuse treatment coverage by health insurance. The bill aims to require insurers to cover chronic or pervasive mental and substance use disorders to the same extent as they would cover acute or short-term treatment.

The proposed legislation would also prohibit insurers from requiring patients to obtain a “prior authorization” before seeking mental or substance abuse disorder treatment. This administrative process is often cited by behavioral health advocates as a barrier to people receiving the care they need.

According to Rep. Teresa Tanzi, D-South Kingstown, there is a disparity in how insurers treat chronic health issues compared to acute health issues. For example, someone waking up from a diabetic coma would receive continued care for diabetes, while someone hospitalized for an overdose might be denied coverage for substance dependency treatment. Tanzi emphasizes that both cases are critical health issues that require proper care.

Sen. Linda Ujifusa, D-Portsmouth, highlights the growing mental health and substance abuse issues that have arisen since the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting people of all ages and demographics. She notes that addressing these issues promptly is crucial to avoid more severe and costly problems in the future. The legislation has the support of the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island and other behavioral health care providers, with similar laws already passed in four other states.

In conclusion, two Rhode Island lawmakers have proposed new legislation aimed at addressing the issue of inadequate mental and substance abuse treatment coverage by health insurance. The bill seeks to require insurers to cover chronic or pervasive mental and substance use disorders to the same extent as they would cover acute or short-term treatment and prohibit prior authorization requirements for patients seeking such treatments.

Representative Teresa Tanzi emphasized that there is a disparity in how insurers treat chronic health issues compared to acute health issues, while Senator Linda Ujifusa highlighted the growing mental health and substance abuse issues that have arisen since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill has received support from various organizations including Mental Health Association of Rhode Island and other behavioral healthcare providers. Similar laws have already been passed in four other states, indicating its effectiveness.

Overall, this proposed legislation could potentially improve accessibility of necessary treatments for individuals suffering from chronic mental and substance use disorders through eliminating barriers created by insurance companies’ policies.

By Samantha Jones

As a content writer at newsnnk.com, I weave words into captivating stories that inform and engage our readers. With a passion for storytelling and an eye for detail, I strive to deliver high-quality and engaging content that resonates with our audience. From breaking news to thought-provoking features, I am dedicated to providing informative and compelling articles that keep our readers informed and entertained. Join me on this journey as we explore the world through the power of words.

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