The majority of Americans who have health insurance receive this coverage through employer-provided health insurance plans. Millions of Americans, however, do not have private health insurance, relying primarily on public programs to pay for health services.
Passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March 2010 began a multi-year process implementing significant changes to the health care system in the United States. For more information on ACA and how it may affect you and your family now or in the future, see About the Law.
Prior to 2008, mental health treatment was not always paid for at the same rate as other health care costs. The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act of 2008 requires healthcare plans that offer mental health coverage to provide equitable coverage of medical, surgical, mental health and addiction benefits. The law makes it illegal for health insurance plans sponsored by businesses with 50 or more employees to impose day and visit limits that are more restrictive than physical illness coverage. It also prohibits applying different deductibles, copayments, out-of-network charges and other financial requirements for mental health treatment compared to physical health treatment covered in a plan.
For more information on mental health parity, please see Mental Health Parity and Healthcare Reform.