In a recent report to Congress on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, the Department of Labor summarizes the law’s requirements, its impact, and plan compliance issues. The report also outlines common violations of the law involving mental health and substance use disorder benefits that aren’t imposed for medical/surgical benefits. The ACA broadened the scope of the Act, requiring individual and small-group plans to provide essential health benefits in compliance with its provisions.
In addition, lawmakers are considering how to improve access to and broaden the scope of mental health and substance use disorder services and benefits. Congress is now debating legislation to improve the behavioral health care delivery system and better integrate it with the provision of medical care. While this legislation does not include new coverage mandates for employer-sponsored health plans, a leading bipartisan Senate bill would increase pressure on federal agencies to enforce mental health parity requirements and provide more useful guidance on nonquantitative treatment limits and other topics.