Mental Health Insurance Parity Not Yet Achieved

Seven years after Congress passed a landmark law banning discrimination in the treatment of mentally ill people, many families and their advocates complain it stubbornly persists, largely because insurers are subverting the law in subtle ways and the government is not aggressively enforcing it. The so-called parity law, which was intended to equalize coverage of mental and other medical conditions, has gone a long way toward eliminating obvious discrepancies in insurance coverage. Research shows, for instance, that most insurers have dropped annual limits on the therapy visits that they will cover. Higher copayments and separate mental health deductibles have become less of a problem. But many insurers have continued to limit treatment through other strategies that are harder to track, according to researchers, attorneys and other critics. Among the more murky areas is “medical necessity” review — in which insurers decide whether a patient requires a certain treatment and at what frequency.

Source/more: Kaiser Health News

David Wingate is an elder law attorney practicing in Frederick and Montgomery Counties, Maryland. The elder law practice consists of wills, trusts, powers of attorneys, asset protection, and Medicaid planning.

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