The 800-pound gorilla in California healthcare has thrown its weight behind legislation that would require health plans to provide comprehensive mental health benefits - despite the added cost.
The board at the California Public Employees' Retirement System, the largest health insurance purchaser in the state, voted last week to endorse Senate Bill 468, which requires health plans to cover most mental health disorders.
The vote coincided with the announcement that HMO rates for CalPERS members will rise by nearly 10 percent next year.
Full mental health coverage could push rates up an additional 1.7 percent to 7.2 percent, according to CalPERS estimates. Translated into dollars, that would …