Officials propose Medicaid, CHIP mental health parity rule

April 06, 2015

Federal officials released a rule proposing how the mental health parity law, ensuring benefits for mental health and addiction treatment were on par with what they received for medical and surgical care, should protect low-income Americans insured through Medicaid managed care and the Children's Health Insurance Program plans. The proposal would mean that plans no longer could have hard limits on coverage such as a certain number of mental health visits in a year, and if a patient were to be denied treatment for a mental health or substance use disorder, the insurer would have to explain why. Even if the state has carved out some benefits under a separate behavioral health plan, patients would be protected under the rule. Insurers, advocates and the general public will have a chance to comment on the proposed rule. The government will then release a final version. In the short term the rule is expected to cost state Medicaid programs $150 million in additional behavioral health costs. Some advocates worry that access to care will make parity difficult to achieve in practice.
Related News:
Battle for mental health parity produces mixed results - Kaiser Health News
Administration proposes mental health parity rule for Medicaid, CHIP - The Wall Street Journal