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NAMI Awards EEX For Leading The Way In Equal Insurance Coverage For Mental Illness

Experience of Businesses Refutes Arguments Against Mental Health Parity


Contact:
Mary Rappaport/Valerie Rheinstein (703) 524-7600
For Immediate Release
31 Jul 98

Arlington, VA — EEX was among nine major American corporations representing thousands of employees across the United States who received the first-ever Leadership in Business award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) at the organization's annual convention in Washington, DC. The prestigious award is given for outstanding corporate leadership in providing employees equal insurance coverage for mental illnesses as that provided for other physical illnesses -- a practice known as "parity."

"This year's award winners have done a great service to their employees and to the thousands of families that depend on them for healthcare coverage," said Laurie Flynn, executive director of NAMI. "As corporate role models, they set an example for the rest of the business world to follow."

Tom Hamilton, Chief Executive Officer, accepted the award for his company. "Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, it has always been the easiest and first place to cut spending, but it seems to us that any company or organization that values people, once they are exposed to the facts about mental illness, can't help but make the right choice with regard to insurance coverage," said Hamilton. "It makes good sense to adequately address the mental health needs of your staff. It's not only the correct business decision, but it is the just and civil thing to do."

Recipients of this year's award in addition to EEX are Black and Decker, Compaq, Exxon Corporation, Lubrizol, Pitney Bowes Inc., Prime Tanning, Sun Microsystems, and Texas Instruments.

The National Advisory Mental Health Council this month issued a special report to Congress on the cost of parity. In the report, NAMHC found that for managed care plans, full parity increases total healthcare costs by less than one percent annually. The study also found that plans implementing parity in conjunction with managed care could actually reduce costs substantially -- by as much as 30 percent to 50 percent. All nine companies being honored this week stand as examples to this finding. "None experienced significant increases in health care costs," said Flynn.

Studies from organizations such as the Rand Corporation, William M. Mercer, Inc., and others show the cost of parity is negligible. It is also widely known that access to treatment for mental illness results in lower costs, higher productivity, and reduced absenteeism.

The awards were presented at NAMI's annual convention that was held in Washington, DC, from July 15-19.  


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