The California Mental Health Parity Act, enacted in 1999, required coverage of medically necessary treatment for nine enumerated severe mental illnesses as well as serious emotional disturbances of a child. The list was criticized as incomplete, out-of-date and failing to encompass the full range of mental health and substance use disorders. It required, among other things, outpatient services, inpatient hospital services, partial hospital services, and prescription drugs, but only if the contract or policy included coverage for prescription drugs.

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