MENTAL HEALTH PARITY: OK House Tacks Tax Credits On Bill
The Oklahoma House has amended a mental health parity bill, already approved by the state Senate, to provide tax credits for affected businesses in order to cover a portion of the anticipated increase in insurance premiums. The bill, as passed by the Senate, would require "group insurance and employer-based insurance plans to make available coverage for biologically based mental illnesses and disorders, including schizophrenia, manic depression, panic disorder, major depression,obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizoaffective disorder." The House amendment, which does not alter the provision limiting the measure to businesses with more than 50 employees, provides a tax credit that "would amount to half the cost of the increase in premiums as a result of the additional coverage in a year's time." The bill now returns to the Senate, which will vote on the amended version. Gov. Frank Keating (R) "is withholding judgment on the bill until he sees the final version," a spokesperson said. The Tulsa World reports that the "measure is likely bound for a joint conference committee, and the House and Senate are likely to get at least one more opportunity to vote on the product" (Ford, 3/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.