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  H.B. No. 2595
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to a parity complaint portal and educational materials and
  parity law training regarding benefits for mental health conditions
  and substance use disorders to be made available through the portal
  and otherwise; designating October as mental health condition and
  substance use disorder parity awareness month.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter D, Chapter 662, Government Code, is
  amended by adding Section 662.115 to read as follows:
         Sec. 662.115.  MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION AND SUBSTANCE USE
  DISORDER PARITY AWARENESS MONTH. (a) October is Mental Health
  Condition and Substance Use Disorder Parity Awareness Month to
  increase awareness of and compliance with state and federal rules,
  regulations, and statutes concerning the availability of, and terms
  and conditions of, benefits for mental health conditions and
  substance use disorders.
         (b)  Mental Health Condition and Substance Use Disorder
  Parity Awareness Month may be regularly observed through
  appropriate activities in communities to increase awareness of and
  education on the available benefits for mental health conditions
  and substance use disorders.
         SECTION 2.  Subchapter F, Chapter 1355, Insurance Code, is
  amended by adding Sections 1355.2571 and 1355.2572 to read as
  follows:
         Sec. 1355.2571.  PARITY COMPLAINT PORTAL. (a) The
  commissioner shall develop and maintain a parity complaint portal
  that is an integrated system that allows for the enrollee of a
  health benefit plan to submit complaints of suspected violations of
  the provisions of this subchapter. The parity complaint portal
  must:
               (1)  allow for an enrollee to submit a complaint
  through multiple ways;
               (2)  provide updates on the status of an enrollee's
  complaint;
               (3)  ensure timely, effective, and equitable
  resolution for submitted complaints;
               (4)  include educational materials regarding:
                     (A)  benefits for mental health conditions and
  substance use disorders required under this subchapter;
                     (B)  an enrollee's rights and responsibilities
  under a health benefit plan concerning coverage under this
  subchapter;
                     (C)  circumstances under which a claim may be
  denied; and
                     (D)  the processes for reviewing a complaint
  submitted through the portal;
               (5)  adhere to national best practices as determined by
  the commissioner; and
               (6)  include the findings of the report required by
  Section 1355.2572(b).
         (b)  In developing the parity complaint portal under
  Subsection (a), the commissioner:
               (1)  shall conduct an assessment of complaint portals
  and similar systems used by other relevant public or private
  entities;
               (2)  shall develop best practice standards for
  complaint submissions and tracking consistent with the findings of
  the assessment conducted under Subdivision (1); and
               (3)  may develop a new complaint portal or modify an
  existing complaint portal.
         (c)  The Health and Human Services Commission shall appoint a
  liaison to the department to receive reports of concerns,
  complaints, and potential violations submitted through the parity
  complaint portal established under Subsection (a).
         Sec. 1355.2572.  EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS AND PARITY LAW
  TRAINING; REPORT. (a) The commissioner, in collaboration with the
  Health and Human Services Commission's ombudsman for behavioral
  health, shall develop educational materials and parity law training
  sessions regarding the coverage for mental health conditions and
  substance use disorders required under this subchapter. The
  commissioner shall ensure that the materials and training sessions:
               (1)  are available to health benefit plan issuers and
  enrollees;
               (2)  include online, print, and in-person formats;
               (3)  are made available through the parity complaint
  portal established under Section 1355.2571 and at relevant
  locations and settings, including:
                     (A)  any relevant agency offices;
                     (B)  health benefit plan provider service
  locations; and
                     (C)  relevant professional conferences and trade
  association meetings; and
               (4)  include a list of relevant third-party
  organization educational and parity law awareness materials that
  provide additional information regarding mental health conditions
  and substance use disorder parity and, if provided in an online
  format, provide the links needed to access those materials online.
         (b)  Not later than September 1 of each year, the
  commissioner, in collaboration with the Health and Human Services
  Commission's ombudsman for behavioral health, shall:
               (1)  prepare and submit a report to the appropriate
  committees of the legislature and the appropriate state agencies on
  the status of:
                     (A)  rights and responsibilities for mental
  health condition and substance use disorder benefits; and
                     (B)  resolved and unresolved complaints submitted
  through the parity complaint portal established under Section
  1355.2571(a); and
               (2)  publish the findings of the report under
  Subdivision (1) to the parity complaint portal established under
  Section 1355.2571(a).
         SECTION 3.  As soon as practicable after the effective date
  of this Act, the commissioner of insurance shall develop:
               (1)  the parity complaint portal required by Section
  1355.2571, Insurance Code, as added by this Act; and
               (2)  the educational materials and parity law training
  sessions required by Section 1355.2572, Insurance Code, as added by
  this Act.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 2595 was passed by the House on May 6,
  2021, by the following vote:  Yeas 122, Nays 24, 1 present, not
  voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 2595 was passed by the Senate on May
  27, 2021, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________
                     Date          
   
            _____________________
                   Governor