Wisconsin Lawmakers Introduce Parity Legislation

A bill introduced in the Wisconsin legislature would close a major loophole and require more health plans to include parity coverage of addiction and mental health, WKOW-TV reported Oct. 7.

Federal law currently mandates that employers with 51 or more workers must cover behavioral-health conditions on par with other ailments if they provide health insurance. The Wisconsin Mental Health and Substance Abuse Parity Act, sponsored by Sen. Dave Hansen and Rep. Sandy Pasch, would extend the requirement to firms that have 50 or fewer employees.

The Milwaukee Addiction Treatment Initiative recently published a survey showing that 65 percent of city residents supported extending parity to all workers, and supporters said that the mandate would only add about $2 to the cost of monthly health-insurance premiums.

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