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Section: Small employer health benefits plan to provide coverage for biologically-based mental illness.

Statute: 17B:27A-19.7

7. a. Every small employer health benefits plan that provides hospital or medical expense benefits and is delivered, issued, executed or renewed in this State pursuant to P.L.1992, c.162 (C.17B:27A-17 et seq.) or approved for issuance or renewal in this State on or after the effective date of this act shall provide benefits for biologically-based mental illness under the same terms and conditions as provided for any other sickness under the health benefits plan. " Biologically-based mental illness" means a mental or nervous condition that is caused by a biological disorder of the brain and results in a clinically significant or psychological syndrome or pattern that substantially limits the functioning of the person with the illness, including but not limited to, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, paranoia and other psychotic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and pervasive developmental disorder or autism. "Same terms and conditions" means that the plan cannot apply different copayments, deductibles or benefit limits to biologically-based mental health benefits than those applied to other medical or surgical benefits. b. Nothing in this section shall be construed to change the manner in which the carrier determines: (1) whether a mental health care service meets the medical necessity standard as established by the carrier; or (2) which providers shall be entitled to reimbursement for providing services for mental illness under the health benefits plan. c. The provisions of this section shall apply to all health benefits plans in which the carrier has reserved the right to change the premium. L.1999,c.106,s.7.

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