Insurers Urged to Ensure Parity on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment

Insurers Urged to Ensure Parity on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment

Health insurance companies should do more to ensure parity for substance abuse and mental health treatment, members of a congressional subcommittee said at a recent hearing.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires larger employer-based insurance plans to cover psychiatric illnesses and substance use disorders in the same way they do illnesses, such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, was passed in 2008 and went into effect for most plans in 2010.

“Parity, the simple idea that substance use disorder and heart disease should be treated the same, is the law,” said Representative Joseph Kennedy of Massachusetts at a hearing of the House Energy and Committee Subcommittee on Health. “But without proper enforcement and transparency, the law is little more than words. And that lack of enforcement and transparency has devastating consequences.”

The Hill reports Kennedy is sponsoring legislation that would increase enforcement of existing parity regulations and improve transparency for consumers seeking insurance coverage for mental illness.

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