Chapter 176O of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 4 the following section:-
4A. (a) A carrier shall not exclude from its network or list of authorized providers any licensed mental health or substance abuse provider located within the geographic coverage area of the health benefit plan if the provider is willing to meet the terms and conditions for participation established by the carrier.
(b) A health benefit plan shall provide coverage for treatment of a mental health condition and shall not establish any rate, term or condition that places a greater financial burden on an insured for access to treatment for a mental health condition than for access to treatment for a physical health condition. Any deductible or out-of-pocket limits required under a health benefit plan shall be comprehensive for coverage of both mental health and physical health conditions.
(c) This section reaffirms the right of health care consumers to receive treatment of a mental health condition from a provider of their choice provided that said provider is licensed and certified by the commonwealth without interruption caused by cessation of consumer coverage by a given carrier or employer.
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