Mental health and substance abuse treatment also must be equivalent to that provided for medical and surgical care within benefit classifications and coverage tiers, such as in- and out-of-network care, emergency care and prescription drugs, according to the rules, which implement the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. That 2008 law requires group health care plans offered by employers with more than 50 employees to provide the same coverage for mental health care services as for other medical, surgical and substance abuse services.Such rules may sound well-meaning and there are people who need mental health services. The problem, however, is that requiring insurance to pay for treatment of conditions that cannot be medically verified ("Doctor, I feel bad") opens the system up to abuse and never-ending cost increases.
The departments of HHS, Labor, and Treasury, are developing these regulations based on a bill passed in 2008. That means the bill was passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress and then signed by Pres. Bush.
Megan McArdle has more on this here and here.
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