(AP Photo/David Tulis) ADVERTISEMENT A new Obama administration rule requires insurers to cover treatment for mental health and substance abuse no differently than they do for physical illnesses. The Obama administration had pledged to issue a final mental health parity rule as part of its effort to reduce gun violence. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says patients seeking mental health or substance abuse care have at time suffered discrimination through higher out-of-pocket costs or stricter limits on hospital stays or visits to the doctor. Sebelius says nearly 60 percent of people with mental health conditions and nearly 90 percent with substance abuse disorders don’t receive the treatment they need.
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New rule: Health insurers must treat addiction, mental health as they do medical problems
Its not a pleasant thing to see. Sebelius was in Atlanta for a symposium on mental health, and credited Rosalynn Carter with championing the effort to require parity for mental health coverage back in 1980. A parity rule had passed then but was never enacted. Sebelius said insurers have known this mental health parity rule was coming and have planned for it when writing their new plans and setting premiums. The plans being sold on the Obamacare marketplace have been priced with the understanding that the parity rules would take effect this year, her staff said. The final rule includes a safety valve for insurance companies, allowing them an exemption on the cost-sharing rule if they find their costs rise by over 2 percent next year because of the parity law, said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, deputy director of HHS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/palm-beach-health-beat/2013/11/08/health-insurers-must-treat-mental-health-and-addiction-as-medical-problems-under-parity-rule-published-today/