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Wyden Highlights New Report from Biden Administration on Mental Health Parity
Tri-Department Report Signals Importance of Placing Mental Health Care on Equal Footing with Physical Health Care
Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today commended a new report from the Biden administration which highlights enforcement efforts and ongoing improvements to the mental health parity law to ensure health insurance plans are in compliance with the law’s requirements.
“For more than a decade, the laws on the books have said mental health care should be treated the same as physical health care, but families have been telling me that insurance companies are continuing to cut corners and sometimes deny necessary care,” Wyden said. “Today’s report shows that insurance companies have not followed the spirit of the law. If given the right tools, I am confident that true mental health parity can become a reality in the American health care system.”
The report, issued by the Department of Labor with assistance from the Departments of Health and Human Services and the Treasury, found 48 instances of non-quantitative treatment limits on behavioral health benefits that were not at parity with medical/surgical benefits among fully-insured and self-insured health plans that provided sufficient information to be investigated and 45 instances of noncompliance among non-federal government health plans. Examples of non-compliance include greater limitations on behavioral health benefits, such as excluding methadone and naltrexone to treat opioid use disorder, pre-certification and prior authorizations requirements, than on the limitations on medical/surgical benefits. Following the notice of non-compliance, the report indicates that many plans and issuers took corrective actions.
The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) requires the Secretary of Labor to submit a report to the appropriate committees of Congress every two years.
The full report can be found here.
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