Governor Whitmer Signs Bill to Expand Mental Health Insurance Coverage in Michigan

(CBS DETROIT) – Treatment for mental health and substance use disorders can add up quickly.

A new bill signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday aims to ensure that insurance covers mental health treatments like physical health services.

“Insurance can cover anywhere from $60 an hour to $200 an hour, so if you’re thinking about something that’s ongoing and maybe even weekly, that can really add up,” said Duane Breijak, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers. . Michigan.

According to 2021 data from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than half of people with a mental illness did not receive any treatment in the previous year. Of the more than 420,000 Michigan adults who did not receive care, 38.4% did not receive it due to cost.

“If we just make it part of our normal healthcare process, I think it’s going to open huge doors for people to start accessing what they should have for years,” Breijak said.

The bill expands coverage requirements for insurance providers in Michigan to the same level as medical coverage. Therefore, providers could not impose higher deductibles, copayments, or out-of-pocket maximums for mental health coverage. Providers also cannot impose restrictions on the number or frequency of treatments.

“It also gives us the authority to go after bad actors and raises the issue of substance abuse. As we all know, mental health is just as important as our physical health,” Whitmer said during her remarks Tuesday.