Honolulu, Hawaii
                                                     , 1999

                                   RE:  S.B. No. 844
                                        S.D. 1

Honorable Norman Mizuguchi
President of the Senate
Twentieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 1999
State of Hawaii


     Your Committee on Health and Human Services, to which was
referred S.B. No. 844 entitled: 


begs leave to report as follows:

     The purpose of this measure is to require parity in health
insurance coverage for alcohol and drug dependence benefits and
mental illness benefits.

     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure
from the Department of Health (DOH), Equal Insurance Coalition,
National Association of Social Workers, Hawaii State Alliance for
the Mentally Ill, Hawaii Medical Association, HGEA, Hawaii
Psychiatric Medical Association, Hawaii Psychological
Association, Mental Health Association of Hawaii, Kokua Council
for Senior Citizens, and five private citizens.  Testimony in
opposition was received from Kaiser Permanente and Hawaii Medical
Services Association.  The Insurance Commissioner submitted
informational testimony.

     According to the DOH, the national trend in mental health
and substance abuse treatment is to expand health insurance
coverage to provide parity with other physical illnesses.  Your
Committee finds that sixteen other states have enacted parity
laws to prohibit discrimination in insurance and managed care
coverage for mental illness.  Your Committee is cognizant of the
recommendations of the Auditor's Report No. 97-19, but believes
that mental health and alcohol and drug abuse treatment coverages

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                                   STAND. COM. REP. NO. 479
                                   Page 2

are necessary in view of the prevalence of these conditions in
society today.  Your Committee respectfully requests the Auditor
to update its findings and recommendations.

     Your Committee has amended this bill on recommendation of
the Hawaii Psychiatric Medical Association by deleting reference
to "psychologist" in section 2 of the measure, because the
provision requires a medical necessity for coverage.  A
technical, nonsubstantive amendment also was made. 

     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your
Committee on Health and Human Services that is attached to this
report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose
of S.B. No. 844, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass
Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 844,
S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Commerce and Consumer

                                   Respectfully submitted on
                                   behalf of the members of the
                                   Committee on Health and Human

                                   SUZANNE CHUN OAKLAND, Chair

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