New bill to hold insurance companies accountable

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(ABC 6 News) – Senator Tina Smith is introducing a bill that would allow the Department of Labor to penalize insurance companies that sidestep laws on providing mental healthcare coverage.

According to a government report, roughly 70 percent of private insurance companies are circumventing the law in some way to deny or limit coverage of mental health treatment.

Senator Smith said that mental health needs to be treated with the same urgency as physical health.

“But that’s not happening. And that’s why we need more accountability and real penalties for health insurance companies that skirt the law and avoid providing the coverage that they should,” Smith said.

This bill would target only private health insurance providers, but Smith said there is still more work to be done to expand mental health care coverage to Medicare and Medicaid.