Small companies in North Carolina will soon have to include mental health coverage that is equal to physical health coverage in the insurance they offer their employees thanks to HB973. The bill states that the mandate is on insurance companies, but a large portion of the cost will be borne by those who purchase insurance. Large companies that self-insure are, as always, exempt, due to the federal ERISA law.
We do need more private coverage of mental health, but insurance mandates are counterproductive. They raise prices and so increase the number of uninsured, which I thought was supposed to be the number one problem with the health care system.
What makes the version passed by the General Assembly particularly bad is that it covers 246 of the 404 diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), including 300.23 (social phobia), 302.89 (frotteurism), 307.46 (sleepwalking disorder), 780.9 (age-related cognitive decline), 312.33 (pyromania), and of course 300.7 (hypochondriasis).