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Gov. Murphy signs legislation to cover expenses for adolescent mental health screenings

NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Friday signed bill, A3548, into law, which will require private insurers, the State Health Benefit Plan, and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program to put into place policies and procedures to ensure coverage of expenses in mental health screening of a major depressive disorder for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18.

“The effects and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has put the mental health of our adolescents at risk, and it’s critical now more than ever to keep the well-being of our youth at the forefront of our post COVID-19 recovery,” Murphy said. “With today’s bill signing, we are prioritizing the mental health of our children and ensuring that they receive the support they need during this time and beyond.”

Under this new law, health benefits coverage will be provided to the same extent as for any other condition within the contract or policy. The insurer may not enforce on individuals who are covered that receive these services any form of cost sharing, including copayments, deductibles, or coinsurance. Currently, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) already requires coverage for adolescent depression screenings. By signing this bill, the Governor is taking steps to ensure that this coverage continues should the ACA ever be repealed or found invalid.

“Early diagnosis of depression and other mental health disorders is critical, as that is the primary way we can ensure our adolescents are receiving the help they may urgently need,” said Senator Joseph Vitale, chair of the Senate Health Committee. “School, work, family life, and personal life tend to be among the main contributors to a person’s stress and anxiety levels, and yet, many adolescents are currently unable to receive the treatment they need. This law will ensure that children and teenagers are able to receive timely and proper treatment for depression or other mental health issues.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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