Opinion: Montana is ready for mental health parity

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By: Laurie Bishop

House Bill 142, the Mental Health Parity Act, would update Montana law to reflect a simple principle: Your health insurance must cover mental health at the same level it covers physical health.

With this expression of Montana values, we’ll chip away at the barriers keeping people from getting the help they need. We’ve made great strides in access and awareness of mental health care in recent years, and this is an opportunity to take another step forward.

The bill is the result of months of collaboration among mental health care providers, insurers, and advocates for mental health. It was developed by former Montana Insurance Commissioner Monica Lindeen, a Democrat, and is also supported by current Montana Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale, a Republican.

It would cost the state nothing and have very little if any impact on your insurance premiums. While parity is already in federal law, its broad applicability to the majority of policies is directly linked to protections that are currently under threat. That’s why we need to take control at the state level – so no matter what happens in Washington, Montanans are protected and insurers and the insured will have no doubt about their benefits.

Read more at the Missoulian