Agencies call for parity in mental health insurance coverage

Capital News Service
LANSING – Mental health advocates want the state to revise the proposed autism-treatment law to require health insurance to cover mental illness. They endorse the legislation to mandate that private insurance providers cover autism related-disorders, but say mental health disorders need equal coverage. Michael Brashears, executive director of Community Mental Health in Ottawa County, said the biggest problem in his county is not just autism, but also other moderate mental conditions. “Autism is not more severe than other disorders. We see more cases of moderate forms of developmental disabilities such as conduct disorder, depressive disorders and anxiety that affect both children and adults in our areas,” he said.

Kids’ poverty up sharply in Ottawa, Allegan counties

Capital News Service
LANSING– The number of children living in poverty in Ottawa and Allegan counties continues to increase, according to a new report. In 2000, there were 4,970 Ottawa County children and 3,353 Allegan County children living in poverty. In 2010, the number jumped to 7,295 and 4,601. That is a 76 percent increase in Ottawa County and a 34.4 percent increase in Allegan County, according to the study by Kids Count. Statewide, the number of children in poverty increased 28.4 percent over the decade.