Presidential Parity Panel Offers Steps to Treat Mental Illness Like Other Disease
A new report was released by President Obama's Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force, outlining recommendations for improving mental health parity in insurance coverage. Since the passage of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in 2008, health insurers and employers have made progress toward improving coverage for mental health and substance use disorders, but significant problems with implementation remain. The task force received 1,161 public comments from patients, families, insurers, advocates, state regulators and others. Based on the findings, the task force has taken several actions, including awarding $9.3 million to states to develop parity enforcement systems within their Medicaid and CHIP programs. In addition, the task force recommended that the government increase its capacity to audit health plans for parity compliance and allow the Department of Labor to assess civil monetary penalties for violations. More information on mental health parity for Medicaid and CHIP populations is also available.