58-67-70. Coverage for chemical dependency treatment.

(a) As used in this section, the term "chemical dependency" means the pathological use or abuse of alcohol or other drugs in a manner or to a degree that produces an impairment in personal, social or occupational functioning and which may, but need not, include a pattern of tolerance and withdrawal.

(b) On and after January 1, 1985, every health maintenance organization that writes a health care plan on a group basis and that is subject to this Article shall offer benefits for the necessary care and treatment of chemical dependency that are not less favorable than benefits under the health care plan generally. Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, benefits for chemical dependency shall be subject to the same durational limits, dollar limits, deductibles, and coinsurance factors as are benefits under the health care plan generally.

(c) Every group health care plan that provides benefits for chemical dependency treatment and that provides total annual benefits for all illnesses in excess of eight thousand dollars ($8,000) is subject to the following conditions:

(1) The plan shall provide, for each 12-month period, a minimum benefit of eight thousand dollars ($8,000) for the necessary care and treatment of chemical dependency.

(2) The plan shall provide a lifetime minimum benefit of sixteen thousand dollars ($16,000) for the necessary care and treatment of chemical dependency for each enrollee.

(d) Provisions for benefits for necessary care and treatment of chemical dependency in group health care plans shall provide for benefit payments for the following providers of necessary care and treatment of chemical dependency:

(1) The following units of a general hospital licensed under Article 5 of General Statutes Chapter 131E:

a. Chemical dependency units in facilities licensed after October 1, 1984;

b. Medical units;

c. Psychiatric units; and

(2) The following facilities or programs licensed after July 1, 1984, under Article 2 of General Statutes Chapter 122C:

a. Chemical dependency units in psychiatric hospitals;

b. Chemical dependency hospitals;

c. Residential chemical dependency treatment facilities;

d. Social setting detoxification facilities or programs;

e. Medical detoxification facilities or programs; and

(3) Duly licensed physicians and duly licensed practicing psychologists and certified professionals working under the direct supervision of such physicians or psychologists in facilities described in (1) and (2) above and in day/night programs or outpatient treatment facilities licensed after July 1, 1984, under Article 2 of General Statutes Chapter 122C.

Provided, however, that nothing in this subsection shall prohibit any plan from requiring the most cost effective treatment setting to be utilized by the person undergoing necessary care and treatment for chemical dependency.

(e) Coverage for chemical dependency treatment as described in this section shall not be applicable to any group that rejects the coverage in writing.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section or Article, any health maintenance organization subject to this Article that becomes a qualified health maintenance organization under Title XIII of the United States Public Health Service Act shall provide the benefits required under that federal Act, which shall be deemed to constitute compliance with the provisions of this section; and any health maintenance organization may provide that the benefits provided under this section must be obtained through providers affiliated with the health maintenance organization.

(g) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, a group health benefit plan that covers both medical and surgical benefits and chemical dependency treatment benefits shall, with respect to the chemical dependency treatment benefits, comply with all applicable standards of Subtitle B of Title V of Public Law 110-343, known as the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

(h) Subsection (g) of this section applies only to a group health benefit plan covering a large employer as defined in G.S. 58-68-25(a)(10). (1983 (Reg. Sess., 1984), c. 1110, s. 9; 1985, c. 589, s. 43(a), (b); 1989, c. 175, s. 3; 1991, c. 720, s. 64; 2009-382, s. 22.)