Minnesota AG 'troubled' by insurance denials for mental illnesses

Minnesota AG 'troubled' by insurance denials for mental illnesses Photo: KSTP

May 06, 2019 06:27 PM

The state's attorney general wants patients and doctors to contact his office after 5 INVESTIGATES found people with mental illnesses, such as eating disorders and drug addiction, have been wrongfully denied insurance coverage.

"I'm troubled by what I saw in KSTP's report, and by other complaints I've heard from Minnesotans about being denied coverage for mental and behavioral health," Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement. "I encourage consumers or providers who feel they've been wrongly denied to contact my office and share their stories."


5 INVESTIGATES highlighted patients' stories on Sunday after a review of medical, state and court records found health insurance companies have repeatedly denied coverage.

More from KSTP: 

Wrongfully denied: Minnesotans fighting mental illness denied coverage from insurance providers

Federal privacy laws make it difficult to know exactly how many patients in Minnesota have been denied coverage. However, the state's Attorney General's office first took on the issue back in 2000 when then Attorney General Mike Hatch sued Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota --- claiming the provider had a pattern and practice of improperly denying coverage to adolescent patients.

The litigation, which is still lauded by patients, advocates and attorneys as a landmark moment in the fight for mental health coverage, led to a multi-million dollar settlement, widespread reform and a drastic decrease in complaints.

But the terms of the settlement ended more than a decade ago and Hatch told investigative reporter Kirsten Swanson that companies now have "no incentive to comply."

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Joe Augustine

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