Past Releases: Senators Urge Support to Implement Mental Health-Addictions Parity
STATEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR COMMUNITY BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE
A mental health law, The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, ensures that individuals with mental health and addiction disorder receive healthcare services equal to those for physical health conditions without larger copays. This mental health law is expected to benefit over 113 million people in the United States. Senators are asking colleagues to sign a letter to Secretaries asking them to pass necessary regulations to ensure effective implementation of this mental health law.
To speak to experts on mental health and addictions parity, contact Meena Dayak at MeenaD@thenationalcouncil.org or 202.684.7457, ext. 228
Washington DC (August 6, 2009)—The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare commends the initiative, headed by Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Jack Reed (D-RI), requesting the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury to issue regulations that will ensure effective implementation of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, effective January 1, 2010.
The parity act, passed by Congress in October 2008, is intended to ensure that individuals and families with mental health and addiction disorders receive healthcare on par with other medical conditions covered under group health insurance. The act will prevent insurers from requiring larger copayments or imposing lower reimbursement ceilings for mental health and addiction conditions. The legislation is expected to benefit more than 113 million people across the United States, including the 82 million individuals enrolled in Employee Retirement Income Security Act group health insurance plans.
Senators Franken, Kennedy, Whitehouse, and Reed — who are committed to realizing the legacy of Senator Paul Wellstone’s lifelong advocacy for parity — are requesting colleagues to sign on to a letter to Secretaries Hilda Solis (Labor), Kathleen Sebelius (HHS), and Timothy Geithner (Treasury) asking them to issue necessary regulations by October 2009. The senators point out that regulations from these departments are crucial to avoid misinterpretation of the law and to ensure that health plans implement the law in the manner that will most benefit the public, addressing concerns about the scope of services, medical management of benefits, and treatment limitations.
National Council members have been working hard to support the development of parity regulations that ensure the broadest and best protection when implementation begins in 2010. Fact sheets and resources that detail the impact of parity are available.