Final Mental Health Parity Rule Released

On November 8, 2013, The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor and The U.S Department of Treasury issued the final rule to implement The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). This law requires group health plans and health insurance to ensure that financial requirements such as co-pays, deductibles and treatment limitations applicable to mental health or substance use disorder benefits are equal to all medical/surgical benefits, in addition to ensuring equal treatment for residential and outpatient behavioral health care.

“This is the largest expansion of behavioral health coverage in a generation,” Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stated as the rule was released.

APA and other mental health community partners have worked to ensure the accurate and timely implementation of the parity law. With the release of the final rule, more and more Americans will begin to see equal coverage of mental health services.

Dr. Katherine Nordal, Executive Director of The American Psychological Association Practice Organization states in a press release, “The American Psychological Association welcomes the publication of the final rule and full implementation of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.  This final rule will enhance Americans’ access to necessary mental health treatment and further protect consumers from discriminatory insurance practices.”

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