Archive for Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Capitol briefs

January 17, 2001


Committee hears plea for insurance coverage

Sarah Adams says she is not sure she can afford much longer to survive major depression.

Adams told the House Insurance Committee on Tuesday that her insurance does not cover her medications or nearly $1,000 a month bills for psychiatrist visits.

"I am worried that I may lose the ground that I have gained because without help from my insurance company, I can no longer address this disease," said Adams, 29, of Topeka. "My insurance plan has a $7,500 lifetime benefit for mental health illnesses. I cannot afford to be well."

The House committee heard testimony on a bill to study mental health parity, the notion that insurance companies treat physical and mental illness the same.

Medicaid plan discussed for working disabled

The possibility of losing Medicaid benefits often deters disabled Kansans from working, a Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services official said Tuesday.

A federal $2 million, four-year grant could help eliminate barriers holding back disabled Kansans, Laura Howard, SRS assistant secretary, told the Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

A disabled person who makes more than $8,000 a year loses Medicaid coverage, Howard said.

Chairwoman Sandy Praeger, R-Lawrence, said the grant also could be used to educate employers and the public about hiring disabled people.

"Employers don't have to be concerned about employing someone who is disabled and paying health care costs," Praeger said.

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