At a time when 28% of Connecticut officials indicate anxiety or frustration – up from 19% two years earlier – the country’s largest insurance policy threatens to prevent them from accessing essential medical care.
Modern decision in Wit v. United Behavioral Health (UBH) case encourages insurers to choose health care more quickly than to recognize compliance with standardized care options, and to prevent people from accessing the long-term care they may need.
Our government and our country are in the midst of a major catastrophic insanity crisis, which is still raging, which has left people in dire need of more attention. At Mental Health Connecticut (MHC), we encourage and educate the people of Connecticut and their communities about the importance of mental health care, connecting people to support themselves, and community support and the resources they need to care for their loved ones.
In our work, we often meet people who are having difficulty finding the medical care they need. We hear a series of cases of people not receiving treatment because their insurers see medical needs through their results, rather than relying on evidence produced by medical professionals. This change also limits the access to mental health care within the system which is difficult to navigate for many other reasons.
A court ruling on March 5, 2019, found that United Behavioral Health had violated the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). This Federal Parity Act requires the same assistance as the insurance companies for people with a mental illness and habit. However, in March 2022, three judges of the 9th Supreme Court of Appeals reversed the Regional Court’s decision with a seven-page decision, stating that it was “unreasonable” for insurers to review the offer without complying with the applicable criteria. care.
Inconsistency between a strong and complete 100-page decision including the Regional Court and the 7-page amendment on Wit v. United Behavioral Health does not make sense. The current ruling will encourage insurers to make decisions that are not in line with medical standards. The negative effects of the case will be felt not only in Connecticut – but also throughout the world.
As of May, Connecticut is one of four countries (along with Rhode Island, Illinois, and California) that have written briefly about amicus promoting the change. Connecticut attorney and State Attorney William Tong stated: “It is absurd, in the face of a major health crisis in America, to insurers to put their own interests ahead of the public and to prevent medical and preventive care.”
In March this year, the MHC merged with 12 other Connecticut agencies in a brief letter to support Attorney General Tong’s amicus. MHC is our colleague and grateful for the support of AG Tong, and is keen to inform people of the devastating effects of the current Wit decision.
Wit’s recent decision differs from Mental Health Connecticut’s goal and enables the networking of our networks to work together. Connecticut residents need a stable, reliable access to the care they need to perform well and heal — and insurance coverage should be the last resort for their barriers to seeking health care.
Real effects of Wit life v. UBH affects more than 50,000 complainants and thousands of Connecticut residents living with mental illness. The recent Wit ruling provides a global model for insurers, rather than medical professionals, to regulate the treatment of patients with dementia.
We urge the Ninth Circuit Board of Appeals to protect the right of patients to secure safe, consistent care, and to provide banc review in this case.
Luis Perez is the President and CEO of Mental Health Connecticut.