Parity Rule Boosts Insurance Coverage For Mental Health Care

The regulation, five years in the making, means insurers won't be able to charge higher co-payments or deductibles for mental health services than they charge for treating physical ailments. Here's a sampling of this afternoon's news coverage of the final rule.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: New Federal Regulation Insists On Protections For Patients With Mental Illness, Drug Problems
It’s final: Health insurance companies now must cover mental illness and substance abuse just as they cover physical diseases. The Obama administration issued new regulations Friday that spell out how a 5-year-old mental health parity law will be administered (11/8).

Bloomberg: Mental Health Coverage Expanded To Most Insurance Plans
Mental Health Coverage Expanded to Most Insurance Plans
Insurers will be required to cover mental illness to the same degree as physical ailments as the Obama administration moves forward with the largest U.S. expansion of behavioral health care in a generation. Five years after the Mental Health Parity act was passed, and almost a year after the Sandy Hook shooting, regulations to fully implement the law were released today. The new rules mean insurers won’t be able to charge higher co-payments or deductibles for mental illness or limit the duration of care  (Wayne, 11/8).

USA Today: New Rule Requires Equal Treatment For Mental Illness
The rule requires insurers to charge similar co-payments for mental health treatment as they would for physical ailments. It also makes clear that deductible and visit limits are generally not more restrictive for mental health and substance abuse care (Kennedy and Madhani, 11/8).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Rules Affirm Equal Status For Mental-Health Care
"This is the largest expansion of mental health coverage in more than a generation," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a speech Friday at the annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy. The regulations are long overdue. Advocates pressed Mrs. Sebelius to release them quickly at a White House event this spring (Dooren, 11/8).

NBC News: Experts Praise 'Historic' Mental Health, Addiction Parity Rule
Mental health and addiction treatment experts praised what they described as a "historic" expansion Friday of insurance coverage for millions of Americans suffering from psychological or substance abuse problems, five years after a law requiring the coverage first passed (Aleccia, 11/8).

CNN: Feds Boosting Mental Health Access, Treatment
In a move aimed at boosting mental health treatment, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Friday announced new rules that will put teeth in a 2008 mental health equity law. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, signed by President George W. Bush, requires doctors and insurers to treat mental illness the same as physical illness (Christensen, 11/8).

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