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Assembly Passes Bills Broadening Mental Health Coverage

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SACRAMENTO (AP) — The state Assembly has passed a set of bills intended to broaden the mental health and health care services covered by private insurance plans.

Lawmakers on Thursday approved AB154, which would require insurers to cover the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses, and AB171 for developmental disorders such as autism. They also approved legislation to cover oral chemotherapy treatments and mammograms regardless of age.

The bills now move to the Senate.

Democratic Assemblyman Jim Beall of San Jose, who authored the mental health and autism bills, said expanding coverage is a cost-effective way to help those already paying for insurance receive the “full scope health insurance they need.”

He says getting people treated earlier also will save taxpayer money.

Republican lawmakers say the legislation will drive up insurance costs.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press)

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