Health Law Committee of the California Lawyers’ Association Webinar: SB 855 and the Ongoing Fight for Parity in Mental Health Treatment

Date: June 8, 2021

Time: 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM PST

Speaker: John A. Mills, Esq. Partner, Nelson Hardiman LLP

Topic: SB 855 and the Ongoing Fight for Parity in Mental Health Treatment

On January 1, 2021, Senate Bill 255 (Wiener) took effect and requires health plans and disability insurers regulated by California to expand access to mental health and substance use disorder (“SUD”) services. SB 855 represents a significant strengthening of California’s mental health parity laws. Unlike under prior law, commercial health plans and insurers in California must now cover all mental health and SUD conditions at the same cost as physical health conditions.

This program will discuss the law’s most notable provisions from the perspective of a healthcare attorney representing mental health and SUD providers. We will address the expansion of mental health coverage, the new limits on utilization review, the law’s effect on the standard of review, the requirement to arrange for out-of-network services and other notable changes resulting from SB 855. In addition, we will discuss the statutory and litigation developments that preceded SB 855, as well as the anticipated fights and fallout from the new legislation.