What is the Parity Law?

transfmhsvcsFor many years, addiction treatment and recovery advocates lobbied for equal coverage for insurance plans regarding mental health and substance abuse. They called it parity, and it recently became a reality with the passing of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). The whole premise is that substance abuse and mental health benefits should be equal to other health insurance benefits in terms of overall coverage, including annual and lifetime maximums.

Last month the Departments of Health and Human Services, as well as the Labor and Treasury, issued the final rules for the Act, which includes additional protection for consumers. While policies that don’t have behavioral health benefits aren’t required to include them, those that do are now held to the same level of other health coverage. Additional areas addressed include co-pays, out-of-network providers, care management tools, number of inpatient days and visits.

Prior to the passing of the Affordable Care Act, the Parity Laws applied mostly to group plans such as governments and employers of 50 or more people. However, this will now be extended to smaller employers and individual plans after the first of the year. The only exceptions to the new laws are plans created before March of 2010.

If you have insurance coverage and would like to know what mental health and substance abuse treatment benefits might be able to you, contact us today for a free estimate, and we can help you locate quality rehabilitation facilities that will work with your policy.