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Mental health parity rule clarifies standards for treatment limits, coverage of intermediate care

Michelle Andrews

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 required health plans that offer mental health and substance use disorder benefits to cover them to the same extent that they cover medical/surgical benefits. Among other things, it prohibits having treatment limits or financial coverage requirements such as copayments or deductibles that are more restrictive than a plan’s medical coverage. Interim regulations issued in 2010 clarified some issues about implementing the law.

The final rules, issued in November by federal officials, spell out more specifics. Michelle Andrews, writing for Kaiser Health News, spoke with Jennifer Mathis of the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and provides some background and clarification on how the rules affect consumers.

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