Medliorate

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2008 Mental Health Parity Law

Posted by medliorator on November 3, 2008

October 3, 2008

President Bush signed mental health parity into law today, taking a great step forward in the decade-plus fight to end insurance discrimination against those seeking treatment for mental health and substance use disorders. This historic legislation requires that health insurance equally cover both mental and physical health.

Congress passed the legislation as part of a new bill that also includes tax extenders, changes to FDIC and the controversial financial rescue plan. The House passed the legislation today by a vote of 263-171. On October 1, the measure passed the Senate by a vote of 74-25.

“With passage of this bill, insurance companies can no longer arbitrarily limit the number of hospital days or outpatient treatment sessions, or assign higher copayments or deductibles for those in need of psychological services,” said Dr. Katherine Nordal, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) executive director for professional practice.

The 2008 bill closes several of the loopholes left by the 1996 Mental Health Parity Act and extends equal coverage to all aspects of health insurance plans. It preserves existing state parity and consumer protection laws while extending protection of mental health services to 82 million Americans not protected by state laws. The bill also ensures mental health coverage for both in-network and out-of-network services.

LANDMARK VICTORY: MENTAL HEALTH PARITY IS NOW LAW (APA press)

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