Insurers face tougher mental health coverage fines

Governor Jerry Brown
Governor Jerry Brown
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Updated: 8/04 5:45 pm

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A bill headed to the governor would increase penalties for health insurance companies that provide substandard benefits for mental health care.

The Assembly approved SB1046 on a 70-0 vote Monday.

Insurers must pay to treat serious mental illness without separate limits or higher costs under state and federal laws. It applies to a range of conditions, including schizophrenia, eating disorders and autism in children.

Democratic state Senator Jim Beall of San Jose says his bill gives the agency overseeing self-employer and individual insurance plans more power to enforce those rules.

SB1046 would allow the Department of Insurance to levy per-day, per-patient fines against insurers for violations. Another agency that regulates most health plans already has the ability to levy penalties.

A health insurance trade group was neutral on the bill.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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