March 05, 2021

California Law to Make Substance Abuse Treatment Easier and Expands CA’s Mental Health Parity Act

A new law in California took effect this past January 2021 which many believe will make it easier to get treatment for substance abuse and mental health. SB855, Health coverage: mental health or substance use disorders, passed last September, makes huge changes to state-regulated commercial plans, requiring them to use “current generally accepted standards of mental health and substance use disorder care” – i.e. nationally recognized clinical standards. For example, if the nationally recognized standard requires residential addiction treatment is 30 days, insurers are not permitted to limit the patient to only a week, they must cover the full 30 days. Also, this new law substantially expands California’s Mental Health Parity Act. Under this new law “conditions currently listed in the California Mental Health Parity Act, including autism, are all included in the broader definition of mental health and substance use disorders.”