Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force - Final Report
The Task Force is pleased to offer its Final Report, which highlights the progress to date on parity implementation, summarizes comments from stakeholders and actions taken during the Task Force’s tenure, and offers recommendations on how to:
- Support consumers,
- Improve parity implementation, and
- Enhance parity compliance and enforcement.
Other Task Force activities are being announced along with the release of the Final Report:
- We are unveiling the version of the new Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Help Consumer Portal! The Portal is a web site designed to help consumers find the appropriate Federal or State agency to assist with their parity complaints, appeals, or other actions. We’re currently taking public comments on how to improve the portal, so please let us know your ideas!
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is awarding $9.3 million to States to help insurance regulators monitor compliance with the mental health and substance use disorder parity protections.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and DOL are releasing a Consumer Guide to Disclosure Rights: Making the Most of Your Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits to help consumers understand what type of information to ask for when inquiring about a plan's compliance with parity and to explain the various Federal disclosure laws that also require disclosure of information related to parity.
- DOL, HHS and the Department of Treasury (Treasury) are issuing guidance on parity and opioid use disorder treatment to address specific questions the Departments have received related to issues such as the application of parity to opioid treatment access and coverage of court-ordered treatment. The guidance also solicits feedback on how the disclosure document request process can be improved. In addition, a new Parity Compliance Assistance Materials Index to assist with navigating the available FAQ.
- SAMHSA is announcing that it will host two State Policy Academies on Parity Implementation for State Officials in Fiscal Year 2017, including one focused on the commercial market and one on parity in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
These Task Force activities build on the progress of this Administration, and the recommendations in the Final Report provide a roadmap for future improvements. Other resources were released during the Task Force’s tenure, including:
- Tri-Departmental guidance from HHS, DOL, and Treasury was issued on April 20 to clarify parity requirements.
- DOL and HHS released the Know Your Rights: Parity for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits brochure, which lists some of the common limits placed on mental health and substance use disorder benefits and services and includes additional information on parity in consumer-friendly language.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released a white paper highlighting best practices of parity implementation and enforcement at the state level.
- DOL and HHS published a paper highlighting Warning Signs, or health insurance benefit design elements that could be “red flags” of potential parity violations.