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.