On June 19, 2019, the Senate Help, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee released an updated version of the Lower Health Care Costs Act of 2019. The new version of the legislation includes additional funding for community health centers, provisions to strengthen mental health parity requirements, and provisions to address prescription drug costs. The mental health parity provisions would require health plans to conduct an analysis of treatment limitations used for medical and surgical benefits as compared to those for mental health services. The legislation would empower the Department of Labor to take additional steps to ensure that health plans are complying with mental health parity laws, which could include the Department randomly auditing these treatment limitation analyses to gauge compliance with the law. The bill also includes a provision that would require providers to send medical bills to patients within 45 days of care being delivered. If the patient doesn’t receive a bill in this time, he or she will not be obligated to pay the bill.
The Committee is scheduled to mark up the bill on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.