President Clinton has signed into law new protections for women when it comes to maternity care and

Nov. 1, 1996
President Clinton has signed into law new protections for women when it comes to maternity care and a proposal that prohibits health-insurance companies from establishing more restrictive lifetime or annual limits on coverage for mental illness than physical illnesses. It`s the first time Congress has passed legislation to restrain the growing practice among managed-care plans and health-maintenance organizations to deny coverage for cost-cutting purposes, and it`s considered a major step in hea

President Clinton has signed into law new protections for women when it comes to maternity care and a proposal that prohibits health-insurance companies from establishing more restrictive lifetime or annual limits on coverage for mental illness than physical illnesses. It`s the first time Congress has passed legislation to restrain the growing practice among managed-care plans and health-maintenance organizations to deny coverage for cost-cutting purposes, and it`s considered a major step in health reform this year. The legislation prohibits health plans from forcing new mothers out of the hospital after childbirth in less than 48 hours, a practice that has been growing among HMOs trying to keep down costs. Congress also approved a proposal that prohibits health-insurance plans from establishing more restrictive lifetime or annual limits on coverage for mental illness than physical illnesses. While mental-health advocates applauded this as a major step forward, many insurance companies and consumer groups predict it would force up the cost of health insurance for everyone and prompt employers to drop coverage, including dental benefits, for all workers.

Judi Hasson

Washington Correspondent

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