Brown, Colleagues Reintroduce Legislation to Support Ohioans’ Access to Addiction Treatment, Other Behavioral Health Coverage

WASHINGTON, DC – US Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined US Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Representatives Katie Porter (D-CA) and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) to reintroduce the bicameral Behavioral Health Coverage Transparency Act , legislation that would strengthen oversight and enforcement of federal mental health and substance use disorder parity laws.

“Whether dealing with a broken leg or seeking treatment for addiction, Ohioans shouldn’t have to fight paperwork and insurance bureaucracy to get the care they need,” said Brown. “This legislation is an important step toward treating mental health care and substance use disorder treatment the same way we treat physical health care in this country.”

The legislation has been updated to account for improvements passed in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA). The CAA granted the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor (DOL), and Treasury increased oversight authority to help provide new insights into insurance companies’ compliance with federal parity laws.

The updated legislation, which builds on the provisions passed in the CAA, would:

  1. Increased transparency by requiring insurance plans and third-party administrators to submit annual reports with information on any non-quantitative treatment limitations and to disclose additional data on denial rates, reimbursement rates, and network adequacy;
  2. Encourage compliance by ensuring that HHS, DOL, and Treasury conduct a review of no fewer than 100 plans per year, including 40 randomized audits;
  3. Establish a toll-free telephone number and an online Consumer Parity Portal to offer patients and providers a centralized website hosting information on patients’ rights, findings from oversight efforts, and resources to ensure that health care consumers receive the protections they are guaranteed by law; other
  4. Support consumers by encouraging collaboration across federal agencies and with states, including by awarding grants to establish, expand, or provide support for offices of health insurance consumer assistance and health insurance ombudsman programs.

This legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and by Representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), David Trone (D-MD-06), Llyod Doggett (D-TX-35), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA-44), GK Butterfield (D-NC-01), A. Donald McEachin (D-VA-04), Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07 ), Michael F. Doyle (D-PA-18), Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL-22), Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), and Ann Kuster (D-NH-02).

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Source: https://www.brown.senate.gov/newsroom/press/release/sherrod-brown-colleagues-reintroduce-legislation-support-ohioans-access-addiction-treatment-other-behavioral-health-coverage

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