Magazine article Policy & Practice

Mental Health Parity and QI Program Supplemental Measures Pass

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Mental Health Parity and QI Program Supplemental Measures Pass

Article excerpt

One measure that did become law was mental health parity language that would put coverage of mental health conditions on par with other health conditions, enacted Oct. 3 as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. The legislation requires employers who offer mental health coverage to provide parity in copayments, deductibles, and other elements of coverage. The measure would not pre-empt more stringent state parity legislation. It also contains certain exemptions, including for employers with fewer than 50 employees. Mental health parity legislation was introduced in Congress last year with the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007 (H.R. 1367), representing a decade-long effort to achieve mental health parity in health care coverage. The legislation was reintroduced in 2008 (H.R. 6983). Last month, the House passed mental health parity legislation in a stand-alone bill, while the Senate included the parity measure in a larger bill with unrelated tax provisions. With the financial crisis on Wall Street pre-empting other legislative activity, the Senate picked up the mental health parity measure in its financial bailout bill. …

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