Harvard Mental Health Letter

In Brief: Mental health parity update

Federal regulations providing guidance to health insurers about how to implement the landmark mental health parity law — which starts taking effect on or after January 1, 2010, depending on when particular plans renew — were delayed but are expected by January 2010.

The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires that many health insurers provide the same coverage for psychiatric and substance abuse disorders as they do for other medical disorders.

The law requires that the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury jointly issue final regulations about how to implement the law. The regulations will help clarify provisions of the parity law, as well as provide a basis for enforcement.

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