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    Local Legislator Co-Sponsors Mental Health, Substance Use Legislation in Cheyenne session

    (Cheyenne, Wyo.) – Fremont County State Representative Andi Clifford (D-33) has co-sponsored a bill in the Wyoming Legislature that would require insurance parity for mental health and substance use treatment. The Bill, introduced by JoAnn Dayton-Selman, (D-HD17), would prohibit insurance companies from charging higher co-pays for mental health and substance use treatments. It also removes disparate lifetime limits on coverage for each.

    House Bill 211 does this by means of removing exemptions from the amended Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, according to a news release.

    Clifford said she threw her support behind the bill based on her experience on the Wind River Reservation, calling mental health the top issue faced by the population there. “We have to ensure that everyone has equal access to mental health and substance use treatment. When someone is facing a higher co-pay or a lower lifetime cap, they forgo seeing a doctor. That not only prevents them from becoming well, but can lead to multiple other health problems down the road,” she said.

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    “Wyoming consistently has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation, and insurance companies charging higher co-pays and limiting access to mental health care directly contributes to that,” Dayton-Selman noted.

    The CDC shows Wyoming ranked 3rd per capita for deaths by suicide in 2016, the most recent year data was available. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/states/wyoming/wyoming.htm

    View bill text at https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0211

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