HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has signed legislation aimed at ensuring health insurers treat mental illness the same as other conditions.

The Democrat said Monday he hopes the new law, which takes effect in January, will be the "first step" toward making Connecticut a leader in mental health parity.

Former Rhode Island U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a mental health advocate, urged Connecticut to consider additional steps to keep insurance companies accountable, such as preventing them from bidding on state contracts if they're in violation of state and federal parity laws.

The new law requires insurers to cover mental health and substance disorder treatment at the same level as physical health. It also requires insurance companies, beginning in 2021, to submit documentation annually to prove they're complying with the law.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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