Mar 5, 2008 Parity Vote

HOUSE PASSES MENTAL HEALTH PARITY LEGISLATION


Last night, March 5, 2008, the US House of Representatives passed legislation requiring “full” parity in health insurance plans. The legislation is known as the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act (HR 1424).

The legislation would expand the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 by prohibiting group health plans from imposing treatment or financial limitations on mental health benefits that are different from those applied to medical/surgical services. The legislation closes the loopholes from the 1996 law (known as “partial parity”) that allowed discrimination in the copayment, coinsurance, deductible, maximum out-of-pocket limit and day and visit limits.  It applies only to group health plans already providing mental health benefits, and excludes (as does current law) health plans sponsored by employers of fewer than 50 people.

The House vote was 268 to 148, with 47 Republicans joining 221 Democrats in support of the measure. The Senate version of the bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent on September 18, 2007. Next, both the House and Senate will convene a conference committee to negotiate the differences between the two bills.

Read CHADD’s Where We Stand: Mental Health Parity statement for more information.

Posted March 6, 2008


House to Vote on Mental Health Parity March 5

Our friends at the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry have shared with us a planned vote on the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007 (HR 1424), tentatively scheduled for March 5, 2008.
This much-needed legislation addresses discrimination in group health insurance plans against people dealing with mental health or substance abuse issues. It will close loopholes that allow discrimination in copayment, coinsurance, deductibles, maximum out-of-pocket limit and day and visit limitations. It would apply to group health plans already providing mental health benefits and excludes health plans sponsored by employers of fewer than 50 people.
The Senate has already passed a version of this bill. The House must now pass this bill in order for a conference committee on legislation to be convened. Once convened, the committee will work out the differences between the two bills so a strong parity bill can be signed this year!
How you can help:
Call your US Representative on March 4 and encourage him or her to vote YES on HR 1424, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007, and NO to any amendments that would weaken the bill.
When you contact your representative’s office, ask for the Health Legislative Assistant. If leaving a voicemail, include your name and phone number where you can be reached.
Check out CHADD’s Where We Stand: Mental Health Parity statement for more information.
Sample message:
"I am calling to ask that Representative ____________ not allow another year to go by without passing mental health parity legislation. A lack of parity in health insurance is one of the key barriers in treat for children and adults with AD/HD. I urge Representative ___________ to vote in support of the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007. If I can be of further assistance, please let me know. Thank you."
Posted February 28, 2008