GEORGIA- A new mental health bill took effect on July 1st, and mental health advocates are applauding its inception. The bipartisan measure was passed by the Georgia General Assembly in the last session.
The bill was sponsored by Republican State Representative Todd Jones of Forsyth and Democratic State Representative Mary Margaret Oliver of Decatur. “Georgia families hopefully have a greater opportunity to receive the treatment they’re entitled to,” Oliver said of the change introduced by the new parity law. Oliver says that Georgia residents will be able to report parity violations to the Georgia Insurance Commissioner under the new law.
Under the new law, parity is likened to a health insurance provider that provides urgent care coverage outside an insured person’s network. Insurers in Georgia must now also cover out-of-network urgent mental health and substance use treatment under the parity rule. The state will be hiring a new mental health parity officer to help oversee the law.
Georgia’s new mental health law sends the message that “mental health matters and is just as important as your physical health,” Kim Jones, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Georgia, said.