Friday, November 21, 2008

Parity Law's Next Hurdle: Working Out Fine Print

Now that the country has a mental health parity law, advocates turn their attention to how it should be implemented and made as comprehensive as possible.

The extent to which the recently enacted mental health parity law (PL 110-343) will expand access to mental health care nationwide will be impacted by the reaction of insurance companies and employers to how the law is implemented and any additional costs that might arise from the benefit (see Experts Disagree Over Future of MH Care Spending).

Mental health advocates including APA, who have battled to improve insurance coverage for psychiatric illnesses since the 1970s, achieved a substantial victory when the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 was signed by President George W. Bush in October. The law requires health plans that offer mental health coverage to have the same benefits, copayments, and treatment limits as other types of health care (Psychiatric News, October 17 and November 7).


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