In Washington, DC, on November 8, 2013 The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury jointly issued a final rule increasing parity between mental health and substance use disorder benefits and medical/surgical benefits in group and individual health plans.
Parity Rule for Mental Health and Substance final rules requiring insurers to offer the same coverage for mental health disorders AND substance/addictive disorders as they do for physical illness. Is this a good thing for advocates and peers and any users of services? Without a doubt, all mental health advocates, caregivers and individuals receiving services should hail this as a small victory.
Judith Evans, Executive Director of NAMI Florida (www.namiflorida.org) reminds us that “In many ways, our society still treats people with mental illnesses the way it did 100 years ago — locking them up. But their future may be better. Obama administration’s rule on coverage of mental illness, released this week, should go a long way toward implementing the 2008 Mental Health Parity Act. That 2008 law extended mental health benefits on a par with medical benefits, but it was an empty promise until the Affordable Care Act made health insurance available to those who had been denied it before.”
Indeed, this ruling is a win for every mental health advocate since it lifts the shackles off treatment and opens the door to EQUAL treatment. Now peers living with mental health or substance issues will be treated like anyone else. No more high “co-pays, deductibles, and visit limits” or “restrictions for mental health/substance abuse disorders” services. In fact, I envision it becoming like getting a basic health and wellness doctor visit.
We at Charlotte Behavioral Health Care feel the same as NAMI when they say:
“Currently, 60 percent of Americans affected by a mental health condition do not receive treatment. With rules requiring parity, we hope that more Americans will receive the care they need and deserve.” http://blog.nami.org/2013/11/new-rule-requires-equal-treatment-for.html