Legislation that would require health insurance plans to cover mental illness gained final approval from the Missouri House today (Wednesday).
Missy Shelton reports.
The bill had overwhelming support from the House.
But Republican Representative Bryan Stevenson of Southwest Missouri argued the bill will drive up the cost of insurance and will cause small businesses to stop offering coverage altogether.
But the sponsor of the bill, Republican Representative Roy Holand of Springfield says that won't happen.
He says there's a relatively small cost associated with mental health coverage.
Holand says many companies already spend money on programs to benefit their workers' overall well-being.
He says mental health should be a part of that.
But opponents of the bill say if mental health coverage is so beneficial, companies will offer the coverage on their own...Stevenson says the state shouldn't have to *mandate* it.
Stevenson says he opposes forcing insurance companies to pay for treatment for drug and alcohol addicts.
He says alcoholism and drug addiction stem from choices individuals make.
But Holand says since insurance companies already cover the physical problems that result from these addictions, it only makes sense to treat the underlying problem.
The measure which has bi-partisan support now moves to the senate for consideration.