Connecticut bill seeks to ensure mental health parity


A former Rhode Island congressman is working with Connecticut legislators to pass legislation to ensure health insurers treat mental health illnesses the same as other illnesses.

Democrat Patrick Kennedy, a mental health advocate, appeared Tuesday with a bipartisan group of state lawmakers to support a bill that requires insurers to submit annual reports concerning parity for mental health and substance use disorder. The bill also requires health insurance coverage for prescription drugs prescribed to treat substance abuse disorders.

Kennedy says the bill is “a modern day civil rights bill for those with brain illness.” He pushed for a federal mental health and addiction parity law more than a decade ago.

Guilford Rep. Sean Scanlon, a Democrat, says Connecticut has strong parity laws but no mechanism to know they’re being enforced.

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