Gov. Gavin Newsom signs law requiring health insurers to cover more mental health treatments

California
In this image taken during a video broadcast via Zoom, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs a law on Sept. 25, 2020, in Sacramento that for the first time defines “medical necessity," a move aimed at requiring private health insurance plans to pay for more mental health and drug addiction treatments. (Zoom via AP)

In this image taken during a video broadcast via Zoom, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs a law on Sept. 25, 2020, in Sacramento that for the first time defines “medical necessity,” a move aimed at requiring private health insurance plans to pay for more mental health and drug addiction treatments. (Zoom via AP)

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a law aimed at requiring private health insurers to cover more mental health and drug addiction treatments.

State and federal laws already require health insurance companies to handle mental health treatments the same as physical health treatments.

But those laws don’t define what is medically necessary to determine which treatments get covered.

Advocates say private insurers often deny coverage for some treatments using their own restrictive definitions.

The California Association of Health Plans opposed the law, saying it recklessly defines medical necessity in a way that undermines providers. The new law takes effect Jan. 1.

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