Final Rule on Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity

Date: November 8, 2013, 12:30 pm EST

Today, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor (DOL), and the Treasury are jointly issuing the final rule to implement the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), and ensure that health plan features such as co-pays, deductibles, and visit limits are generally not more restrictive for mental health/substance use disorders benefits than they are for medical/surgical benefits. Today's action also includes specific additional consumer protections, such as:

• Ensuring that parity applies to intermediate levels of care received in residential treatment or intensive outpatient settings
• Clarifying the scope of the transparency required by health plans, including the disclosure rights of plan participants, to ensure compliance with the law
• Clarifying that parity applies to all plan standards, including geographic limits, facility-type limits, and network adequacy
• Eliminating an exception to the existing parity rule that was determined to be confusing, unnecessary, and open to abuse.