Assemblywoman SHEILA Y. OLIVER
District 34 (Essex and Passaic)
Assemblywoman CONNIE WAGNER
District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)
Urges Governor Christie’s Administration not to apply for annual exemption from requirements of federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Assembly Resolution urging the Administration of Governor Christie not to apply for an annual exemption from the requirements of the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.
Whereas, The federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to ensure that the financial requirements, such as co-pays and deductibles, and treatment limitations, such as visit limitations, applicable to mental health or substance abuse disorder benefits are no more restrictive than the predominant requirements or limitations applied to substantially all medical and surgical benefits; and
Whereas, Under current federal law, sponsors or administrators of self-funded nonfederal governmental group health plans may apply for plan exemptions from parity in the application of certain treatment limitations to mental health benefits under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008; and
Whereas, The Executive Branch has been applying annually for an exemption from mental health parity since the 1980s and 1990s and from mental health and substance abuse parity since 2008 through plan design and the State Health Benefits Commission action, and in the current State fiscal year is exempt from mental health and substance abuse parity as it applies to visit limits which may reduce the efficacy of treatment; and
Whereas, Approximately 50 percent of mental disorders begin before the age of 14, one in five of the world’s children and adolescents are estimated to have mental disorders or problems, and one in four adults experience a mental health disorder in a given year, but fewer than one-third of adults and one-half of children with a diagnosable mental disorder receive mental health services in a given year despite the availability of effective treatments; and
Whereas, Approximately one in four state prisoners, one in five local jail prisoners, and seven out of ten youths in the juvenile justice system have a recent history of a mental health disorder, while over 50 percent of students age 14 and older with a mental disorder drop out of high school, the highest drop out rate of any disability group; and
Whereas, War and major disaster have a large impact on the mental health and psychosocial well-being such that rates of mental disorder tend to double after emergencies and lead to increased risk factors for communicable and non-communicable diseases, intentional and unintentional injury, and suicide; and
Whereas, Mental disorders are one of the most prominent and treatable causes of suicide; and
Whereas, In the United States, the annual economic, indirect cost of mental illness is estimated to be $79 billion, most of which ($63 billion) reflects the loss of productivity, but the financial resources needed to treat mental disorders range between $2 and $4 per person per year; and
Whereas, There are five barriers to the effective treatment of mental health disorders: the absence of mental health issues from the public health agenda and the implications for funding; the current organization for mental health services; lack of integration within primary care; inadequate human resources for mental health; and the lack of public mental health leadership; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. This House urges the Administration of Governor Christie to take a leadership role in the public mental health agenda and not apply for an annual exemption from the requirements of the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.
2. Duly authenticated copies of this resolution, signed by the Speaker of the General Assembly and attested to by the Clerk thereof, shall be transmitted to Governor Christie.
This Assembly Resolution urges the Administration of Governor Christie not to apply for an annual exemption from the requirement of the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.