Today, as part of the Obama administration's continuing efforts to increase access to mental health services, the final rule implementing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 was issued.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Friday that new regulations will require health insurers to treat mental health coverage like all other aspects of healthcare, the culmination of a long effort to achieve parity for mental health coverage and part of Obama’s effort to curb gun violence. The regulations put into effect a 2008 law, and will affect nearly 85 percent of Americans with health insurance. Insurers will be required to pay as much for mental health as they do for medical and surgical procedures, and cannot limit the geographical area where mental health care is covered.
The final rule issued today implements the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, and ensures that health plans features like co-pays, deductibles and visit limits are generally not more restrictive for mental health/substance abuse disorders benefits than they are for medical/surgical benefits.