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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 approximately 324 Americans dying every day from a drug overdose or suicide in 2019 and deaths continuing to rise, 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 the Parity Enforcement Act (H.R. 1364), which would give the Department of Labor more authority to ensure insurance companies are complying with the Parity Act, and the Parity Implementation Assistance Act (S. 1962/H.R. 3753), which would provide funding for states to support their oversight of parity compliance.
Cosponsor the Parity Enforcement Act and Parity Implementation Assistance Act
Dear [Decision Maker],
I write to urge you to cosponsor the Parity Enforcement Act (H.R. 1364) and the Parity Implementation Assistance Act (S.1962/H.R. 3753).The 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 in 2019, nearly 200 people died 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. The current enforcement framework places the onus on consumers to identify parity violations, but consumers are often 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.The Parity Enforcement Act would provide additional enforcement tools by allowing the Department of Labor to investigate and levy monetary penalties against health insurers and plan sponsors that offer health plans to employers that violate parity. The Parity Implementation Assistance Act would authorize $25 million in grants to states to support their oversight of health insurance plans' compliance with parity requirements. The funding would help states evaluate health plan compliance with the comparative analyses required in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.Together, these bills would strengthen parity enforcement at both the federal and state level.
We urge you to cosponsor the Parity Enforcement Act in the House and introduce companion legislation in the Senate, and to cosponsor the Parity Implementation Assistance Act in both chambers, so that those in desperate need of mental health and substance use treatment are no longer denied coverage in violation of the Parity Act.