DENVER, CO– The House passed legislation by a vote of 54-11 that would make Colorado the first state in the country to require health insurance plans to cover an annual mental health wellness exam.
“By passing this bill, Colorado will be the first state in the country to cover an annual mental health wellness exam in the same way that physical exams are covered,” said Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “We shouldn’t wait until people are in crisis to get them the care they need. Annual mental health wellness exams can detect and prevent mental health issues earlier. By doing so, Coloradans will be given the tools to address mental health challenges they may be facing early, preventing them from getting to crisis.”
“By making mental health a top priority this session, we can help Colorado build back stronger and ensure that everyone in our state has access to the care they need,” said Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Arvada. “Coverage for annual mental health wellness exams will save lives and bring critical mental health services to Coloradans. By detecting and treating mental health conditions, we can provide Coloradans with critical care and prevent the mental health crises that have led to tragedies in every community in our state.”
HB21-1068, sponsored by Representatives Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Brianna Titone, would require health insurance plans in Colorado to cover an annual mental health wellness exam of up to 60 minutes that is performed by a qualified mental health care provider. Under the bill, coverage for the annual exam must be comparable to coverage for an annual physical exam, and insurance plans may not require deductibles, copayments, or coinsurance for the annual mental health wellness exams.
Research shows that the prevention and early detection of a mental health condition can lead to better health outcomes. Annual wellness exams allow individuals to be offered services and supports that address their needs before an issue progresses or becomes a crisis. Mental health conditions occur at all stages in life, and by integrating mental health into primary care, more Coloradans will have access to the care they need.