This session the General Assembly passed, and Gov. Easley signed, a law that provides insurance parity to people who receive mental health services. The new law, House Bill 973, requires insurance companies to cover bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and three other mental illnesses the same way that they treat and cover physical illnesses.
The bill started out with broader coverage, but the insurance lobbyists successfully narrowed the field to the above illnesses. All other mental health conditions will be covered for up to 30 inpatient/outpatient days and 30 office visits. Representative Martha Alexander has been pushing this legislation for over 15 years and deserves most of the credit for its passage.