Mental Health Parity Act

Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. will release long-awaited rules today requiring insurers to cover treatment for mental illness in the same manner they provide care for physical health, a senior administration official said.

The regulations, five years in development, mean that insurance companies won’t be able to charge higher co-payments or deductibles for treatment of mental illness or limit the duration of care any more than they would for treatment of a physical condition.

The requirements will apply to almost all health plans in the nation including new ones sold under the health-care overhaul, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The U.S. health secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, will announce the final mental health rules at a conference this morning in Atlanta with Rosalynn Carter, the former first lady, the official said.

The administration also considers the rules to be a chief component of an effort to reduce gun violence, the official said. The White House included improving mental health services as one of 23 executive actions it announced to combat gun violence after 26 children and adults were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.


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