Oklahoma, New Jersey And Indiana Enact State Parity Laws
Momentum Continues To Build For Ending Insurance Discrimination
NAMI applauds Governors Frank Keating (R-OK), Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ) and Frank L. O’Bannon (D-IN) for signing their respective state parity bills into law and putting an end to insurance discrimination against people with severe mental illnesses in their states. Oklahoma and New Jersey became the 22nd and 23rd states overall to enact state parity legislation, adding momentum to the movement throughout this country against unequal coverage. The new law in Indiana amends the law passed in 1997 by removing the expiration date and broadening its provisions.
NAMI recognizes and congratulates all members of NAMI Oklahoma, NAMI New Jersey and NAMI Indiana for the time and energy they have devoted to educating policy makers and for the thousands of letters and phone calls they have directed to State legislators. The commitment of NAMI members across the country continues to erase insurance practices that discriminate against people with biologically-based brain disorders.
"For several years now, NAMI grassroots leaders, like those in Oklahoma, New Jersey and Indiana, have worked tirelessly to end health care discrimination for those who struggle with major mental illness," said NAMI executive director Laurie Flynn. "NAMI’s members and friends across the country join in their victory."
While all NAMI members cheer these successes, there are many key states where parity laws are still pending including California, Hawaii, Illinois, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and West Virginia. Two states with existing state parity laws, Maine and Texas, are considering legislation that expands parity for children with serious brain disorders. For more information on existing state parity laws, go to the NAMI website at http://www.nami.org/pressroom/statelaws.html (This chart does not yet include the states that have enacted parity laws this year which are, Virginia, Montana, Indiana, Oklahoma, and New Jersey).