Statement of Alderman Tony Zielinski
As Milwaukee and the region continue to experience the devastating effects of the heroin and opiate addiction epidemic, I am introducing legislation to ensure proper addiction and mental health treatment coverage for all city employees.
I will ask the chair of the Finance and Personnel Committee to schedule a communication from the Department of Employee Relations to make certain that the City’s primary health care insurance carrier covers addiction and mental health treatment consistent with federal parity laws and does not limit addiction and mental health services by requiring burdensome prior authorizations or by limiting provider networks or benefits – especially as compared to other medical services.
Unfortunately, we are seeing health insurance carriers playing games with coverage for badly-needed addiction and mental health treatment services. This is an unacceptable obstacle for those who are working to address their addiction issues and get the treatment they need to return to leading productive and healthy lives. Health insurance carriers engaging in these activities are causing cities like ours to lose millions of dollars each year in reduced productivity and the inherently higher costs of deferred treatment.
If the policies offered to our employees our found to be deficient in this area, I will sponsor legislation to set this matter right.