Congressman Tim Ryan Responds to the Full Implementation the Mental Health Parity Act

Nov 8, 2013 Issues: Health Care

Warren, Ohio – Congressman Tim Ryan is proud to announce that today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury have issued the final rule to fully implement the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA).  This landmark legislation takes the necessary steps to ensure that mental health and substance abuse disorders are covered under the same rules as medical health care services – these rules apply to coverage limits, co-payments, and out-of-network. It ensures coverage equality for mental health/substance abuse disorders when compared to other medical coverage.

“Men and women suffering from substance abuse and mental health disorders have waited too long to receive the same quality care for their mental health treatment. This is a major step towards finally achieving equality in medical and mental health benefits,” said Congressman Ryan. “The price of not treating all of those in need is too high—as we are painfully finding out. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus and Military Mental Health Caucus I am pleased that this final rule has been released and the guidance necessary to fully implement this law is finally available to the millions of Americans afflicted with mental health issues and substance abuse disorders.”

The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) was signed into law October 3, 2008. The interim final regulations were later released in February 2010 and went into effect for the majority of the plans on January 1, 2011, yet these key provisions were not finalized. The lack in guidance led to many individuals without access to proper mental health treatment. The release of this final rule allows for the full implementation of the law and will help prevent the ongoing discrimination and lack of access that many people suffering from addiction and mental health issues experience every day. Currently, nearly 60 percent of the 45 million American adults afflicted with mental illnesses go untreated, recent reports also show that only half of children with mental disorders have received treatment for their illness in the past year.

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