The Los Angeles Times
reports on the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which went into effect on Jan. 1. "Passed as part of the federal stimulus package, the act requires that insurers provide mental health coverage that's no less restrictive than traditional medical coverage. In theory, the act should enable patients needing lengthier therapy to receive it. But skeptics point to several loopholes -- chiefly, that insurance companies are not required to cover mental health care at all. The new law affects 113 million Americans whose states did not already have mental health parity provisions in place. California has followed a mental health parity law since 2000 and so will not be affected." The law may change the balance between psychodynamic therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy in mental health treatment (Jaffe, 1/11).
This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.