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California bills would make insurers cover more mental health

California legislators on Tuesday introduced two bills aimed at improving access to mental health and addiction treatment by requiring health insurance companies to authorize some forms of treatment more quickly and to cover more comprehensive mental health services.

SB855 would require insurance companies to cover all forms of mental health and substance use treatment that a patient’s doctor deems “medically necessary” — not just emergency or urgent services that existing federal and state parity laws require insurers to cover. The bills’ authors and health advocates say existing laws don’t do enough to ensure Californians get timely and comprehensive enough care for mental health conditions.

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