New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed a new mental health parity law, creating stronger regulations on health insurers to cover behavioral treatments at the same level as physical care.
Inequity in coverage between physical and mental health care is already banned by federal law, but Governor Phil Murphy says there was little enforcement in New Jersey.
“Unless we take the steps to close the gaps in access, individuals with mental health issues will continue to fall thought those gaps,” he said.
The new legislation will task the state Department of Banking and Insurance with creating accountability.
“New Jersey is sending another strong message,” said NJDOBI Commissioner Marlene Caride. “Not only are we committed to improving access to health care, but we are clearing the way for individuals that need treatment for mental health and substance use disorder.”
The law expands on the definitions of mental health conditions including eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders, and PTSD.
“We know that there can be no distinction between mental health challenges and physical challenges,” said Assembly Speaker and bill sponsor Craig Coughlin. “Any of us who have had friends or loved one’s who suffer from those challenges know that they are real and that they are correctable. That we can make a difference. Today we do something important to help start that.”
Under the new law, insurance carriers will have to submit an annual report to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance to demonstrate compliance with mental health parity laws.