The governing board of Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority, at its November meeting, passed unanimously a resolution expressing support for Michigan Senate Bills No. 4 and No. 5, commonly referred to as the Mental Health Parity Legislation. These bills were introduced by Senator Beverly Hammerstrom in the Michigan State Senate.
Untreated mental illness costs the American economy an estimated $113 billion annually due to lost productivity and increased absenteeism. Actuarial studies and the Congressional Budget Office contend that covering mental illness would add as little as one percent to health insurance premiums.
Over 50 million adults, 22 percent of the U.S. adult population, suffer from mental or substance abuse disorders every year. However, these individuals face a blatant form of health insurance discrimination. Nearly 98% of private sector health insurance plans impose some form of arbitrary limit on treatments for mental illness, such as higher co-payments, fewer allowable visits, and lower lifetime benefit caps than other illnesses.
Currently, 33 states have some form of mental health parity law. Michigan does not.
Northern Lakes CMH manages or provides services and supports to over 5,000 residents who are adults and children with developmental disabilities, adults with serious mental illness and children with serious emotional disturbance living in its six-county service area of Crawford, Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Missaukee, Roscommon and Wexford. For more information call Greg Paffhouse at (231) 922-4850 or (231) 775-3463.
Posted January 18, 2005
For more information contact:
Greg Paffhouse, CEO
Northern Lakes Community Mental Health
105 Hall Street, Suite A
Traverse City MI 49684
(231) 922-4850 or (231) 775-3463