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The 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Parity Act) requires most health plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment the same way they cover treatment for other diseases. Despite strong legal protections, millions of families still struggle to get insurance coverage for needed treatment and are unaware of their rights under the Parity Act, due to weak enforcement and poor implementation. With nearly 290 Americans dying every day from a drug overdose or suicide, now is the time to strengthen and enforce the Parity Act.
We urge you to send the below email to your Members of Congress to have them cosponsor H.R. 2874/S.1576 the Behavioral Health Coverage Transparency Act and H.R. 3165/S.1737 a bill to strengthen Parity in mental health and substance use disorder benefits, which will help to ensure insurance companies are complying with the Parity Act.
Click here for more information on the Parity Act and resources on dealing with insurance coverage.
Cosponsor Legislation to Strengthen Parity in Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders H.R. 2874/S.1576 and H.R. 3165/S.1737
Dear [Decision Maker],
I write to urge you to cosponsor H.R. 2874/S.1576, the Behavioral Health Coverage Transparency Act and H.R. 3165/S.1737, a bill to strength parity in mental health and substance use disorder benefits. These bills will strengthen compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Parity Act) which was passed over a decade ago in 2008 and requires most health insurance companies to cover treatment for mental health and substance use disorders the same way they cover treatment for other diseases.
Every day in the United States, nearly 200 people die from a drug overdose - more than from car accidents or gun violence. Many people are dying because they are unable to access treatment. Only two in ten people who need addiction treatment receive it and cost and insurance coverage are significant barriers to receiving care. Weak enforcement of the Parity Act has allowed insurance companies to continue discriminating against patients in need of mental health and substance use disorder treatment. A recent survey of consumers conducted in 5 states by the Parity at 10 Campaign found that more than one-third face insurance barriers when accessing care. While the current enforcement framework relies on consumers to identify parity violations, the survey found consumers are less likely to speak up and challenge denials for mental health or substance use disorder benefits than denials for medical care. The majority of consumers were also unaware of the Parity Act or the rights it affords. Stronger enforcement is needed to better protect consumers and increase access to life-saving care. These bills provide additional enforcement tools by requiring plans to provide more information about how they comply with the Parity Act and requiring federal agencies to perform random audits of health plans. It will also establish a critical Consumer Parity Unit so that families in crisis can go to one central place to get help, submit complaints and receive a timely response.
We urge you to cosponsor the Behavioral Health Coverage Transparency Act and the bills to strengthen parity in mental health and substance use disorder benefits, so that those in desperate need of mental health and substance use treatment are no longer denied coverage in violation of the Parity Act.