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House bill would require insurers to cover medically necessary mental health treatment

university of michigan hospital emergency sign
Katie Raymond
Michigan Radio

The Michigan House of Representatives Insurance and Financial Services Committee reported on a new House bill that would expand healthcare coverage related to mental health and substance abuse treatment.

The bill, sponsored by Democrat Felicia Brabec (D-Pittsfield Township), would require health insurers to cover treatment related to mental health and substance abuse, when deemed medically necessary. It would create a new standard of coverage, including some emergency and out-of-network services.

Democratic Representative Julie Rogers (D-Kalamazoo) plans to vote in favor of the bill.

She says many Michigan residents go without treatment because of the cost and the bill is one step in addressing the state's ongoing mental health crisis.

“We can't afford not to do this. Right now, because people often go without care there is often a snowball effect. So instead of catching issues early on, sometimes those conditions can escalate,” Rogers said.

Rogers says the need for treatment should be determined by healthcare providers, rather than insurance companies.

“Patients need to receive the treatment that is medically necessary that their providers are recommending and so many times that's not the case. So many times insurance companies are making decisions that really should be made by a medical team,”

Rogers says there's bipartisan support for the bill in committee.

Taylor Bowie is a senior studying English Literature at the University of Michigan and an intern in the Michigan Radio newsroom. She is originally from Owosso, Michigan.
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