Mental-health law finalized

Final rules set for 2008 Mental Health Parity Act

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released the final rules of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

The parity law, passed in 2008, mandates that the health plans of larger employers must cover psychiatric illnesses and substance-abuse disorders as if they are physical illnesses, according to California Healthline. On Nov. 8, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released the final rules intended to clarify how parity applies to residential treatment facilities and outpatient care, and ensure that copayments, deductibles and limits on provider visits for mental-health services are not more restrictive than those for medical or surgical benefits.

State insurance commissioners will be tasked with making sure insurers comply with the parity standards.