NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, reports that on February
7, 2008, the House passed legislation extending the 1996 Mental
Health Parity Act (MHPA) for an additional year by a vote of 384 to
23. The measure, HR 4848, now moves to the Senate, where it is
expected to pass quickly. The MHPA requires equitable coverage for
mental illness treatment in group health plans, but only with respect to
annual and lifetime dollar limits. Since 2001, Congress has
annually renewed the law for one year at a time. At the end of
2007, efforts to extend the law for another year fell short.
Major national health plans have made clear that they continue to comply
with the MHPA despite this temporary lapse. Most plan contracts
operating on a calendar year basis were put in place long before the end
of 2007 and assumed compliance with the law.
See CHADD's Where
We Stand statement for details on mental health parity.
Posted February 11, 2008