Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of NIMH, has a thought-provoking blog post on the potential unintended consequences of parity.
- The Paradox of Parity
When the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was signed into law in 2008, after decades of debate, advocates for mental health celebrated what was arguably their most important legislative achievement in 50 years. The new law, with the cumbersome acronym of MHPAEA, had a simple, ambitious goal: treatment for mental illness and substance abuse disorders would be on a par with treatment for all other medical disorders. If insurance companies covered treatments for depression and diabetes, they could not have different requirements or different deductibles or different reimbursement schedules for the two conditions.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), passed in 2010, included mental health care as an essential benefit and consolidated MHPAEA into a broad mandate for health care reform by removing exclusions based on pre-existing conditions, extending coverage on a parent’s plan for dependents up to age 26, and expanding coverage to the entire population. With implementation of the ACA’s reforms well underway and the release of the implementation rules for MHPAEA late last year, we are now in one of the most dynamic periods of mental health care change since the advent of the community mental health movement of the 1960’s.
- Continue reading on the NIMH website.