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MD revises benchmark health exchange plan to include mental health coverage

A new benchmark in the Affordable Care Act will significantly widen mental health coverage under Maryland’s minimum insurance requirements, according to The Gazette.

On November 20th, federal health officials instituted new mental health coverage requirements to begin in 2014.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, lawmakers and spokespersons like Jay Carney are pointing to the new provision to prove the government is addressing mental health coverage, PBS reports.

Meanwhile, Maryland’s Health Reform Coordinating Council chose a new benchmark plan this week that lists the services that must be covered by insurance plans sold on the state’s healthcare exchange. The benchmark is partially based off of the state’s current largest small group plan, states The Gazette.

Additional benefits include federal employee behavioral health coverage. The plan will cover room and board for hospital treatments, outpatient care, residential treatment and counseling for mental illness. Alcoholism and drug abuse treatment will also be covered. Learning disabilities, however, will not be included.

The new benchmark is a change from September’s, which was based on the state employee health plan and did not meet the federal mental health requirements. The previous benchmark included mental health coverage but did not treat it the same as physical illnesses, reports the newspaper.

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Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe
Erin Woulfe likes to write about things that matter. Keeping her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the public sector world, she blogs about the latest legislative news and employee benefit trends that affect our school, city and county clients. She’s been with NIS since 2002. “I love connecting to our clients and providing them with the tools they need in order to administrate their plan,” says Erin. “Whether that be materials to educate their employees on certain benefits, how to effectively communicate change within an organization or just providing tips and how-to’s to help them make their job easier.”

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