NATIONAL NEWS

The Biden administration proposes new rules to push insurers to boost mental health coverage

Jul 25, 2023, 2:15 AM | Updated: 4:14 pm

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in Philadelphia, July 20, 2023. Biden's administration is announc...

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in Philadelphia, July 20, 2023. Biden's administration is announcing new rules meant to push insurance companies to increase their coverage of mental health treatments. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced that his administration is moving forward with new rules meant to push insurance companies to increase their coverage of mental health treatments.

The new regulations, which still need to go through a public comment period, would require insurers to study whether their customers have equal access to medical and mental health benefits and to take remedial action, if necessary. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires that insurers provide the same level of coverage for both mental and physical health care — though the administration and advocates argue insurers’ policies restrict patient access.

“I don’t know what the difference between breaking your arm and having a mental breakdown is — it’s health,” Biden said in an East Room event highlighting the announcement. “We must fulfill the promise of true mental health parity for all Americans now.”

The rules, if finalized, would force insurers to study patient outcomes to ensure mental health and physical health benefits are administered equally, taking into account their provider network and reimbursement rates and whether prior authorization is required for care.

The Democratic president’s administration said it’s aiming to address issues such as insurers enabling nutritional counseling for diabetes patients but making it more difficult for those with eating disorders or not having enough mental health providers in their provider networks, forcing subscribers to pay higher, out-of-pocket fees for needed help.

“Folks, it shouldn’t be this way,” Biden said. “It doesn’t need to be this way.”

By measuring outcomes, the White House said, it will force insurers to make modifications to come into compliance with the law.

Biden made tackling the nation’s mental health crisis a part of his “unity agenda” — issues he believed could win bipartisan support in Congress — during his 2022 State of the Union address.

National News

Actor Alec Baldwin hugs a member of his legal team after the judge threw out the involuntary mansla...

Associated Press

What’s next for Alec Baldwin after manslaughter case dismissal

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A New Mexico judge dismissed the involuntary manslaughter case against Alec Baldwin over the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in a sudden move Friday. Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer dismissed the case based on the misconduct of police and prosecutors over the withholding of evidence from the defense. She said the […]

2 hours ago

FILE - An unidentified representative of the junta waves from a military vehicle as Malians support...

Associated Press

Terrorism and organized crime rampant in Sahel and spilling into West Africa coastal states, UN says

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Terrorism and organized crime by violent extremist groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State are a “pervasive threat” in Africa’s volatile Sahel region and are spilling over to West Africa’s coastal countries, the top U.N. envoy for the area warned Friday. Leonardo Simão, the U.N. special representative for the Sahel […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Federal appeals court says there is no fundamental right to change one’s sex on a birth certificate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A federal appeals court panel ruled 2-1 on Friday that Tennessee does not unconstitutionally discriminate against transgender people by not allowing them to change the sex designation on their birth certificates. “There is no fundamental right to a birth certificate recording gender identity instead of biological sex,” 6th U.S. Circuit Court […]

3 hours ago

FILE - A version of a proposed Mississippi Senate redistricting map is displayed on a computer moni...

Associated Press

Mississippi must move quickly on a court-ordered redistricting, say voting rights attorneys

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi should work quickly to fulfill the court-ordered redrawing of some legislative districts to ensure more equitable representation for Black residents, attorneys for voting rights groups said in a new court filing Friday. The attorneys also said it’s important to hold special elections in the reconfigured state House and Senate districts […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

A US judge is reining in the use of strip searches amid a police scandal in Louisiana’s capital city

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The use of strip searches by police in Louisiana’s capital city was reined in Friday by a federal judge who said the policy under which Baton Rouge officers perform such searches on people who haven’t been arrested is “unconstitutional on its face.” U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick’s order came in litigation […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Police tape blocks the boarded-up residence of Timothy Haslett on Oct. 10, 2022, in Excelsio...

Associated Press

One woman escaped a ‘dungeon’ beneath a Missouri home, another was killed. Here’s a look at the case

LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man facing trial on kidnapping and sexual assault charges after a woman said she escaped weeks in his captivity was arraigned Friday on a new charge of murder. Authorities say they linked him to the remains of a woman found in a barrel by the Missouri River. The case […]

4 hours ago

The Biden administration proposes new rules to push insurers to boost mental health coverage