Mental Health Insurance will soon be treated the same as medical and surgical benefits. Addiction Treatment benefits will have the same rate of return as those as a surgical procedure. When the congressional economic recovery package was signed on October 3rd the Mental Health and Addiction Parity Act was a rider on that package.
This Act will lead to wholesale changes in the way insurance benefits are written for those suffering with mental health problems and addiction problems. Since 1973 when HMOS started limiting the treatment benefits for addicts and alcoholics the number of days allowed in drug rehabs has dwindled to what it is today. Some policies allow only detox with no reimbursement for any continuing care or aftercare.
Families faced with the financial cost for addiction treatment often felt betrayed by the provider when the coverage just wasn't there. Some people would mortgage their homes others would be forced to put the bill on their credit cards and still others just went without treatment.
The Mental Health and Addiction Parity Act will impact over 100 million people enrolled in state regulated or employer-funded plans. The bill will go into effect in January 1, 2010. This is not a free pass for drug rehab centers and eating disorder treatment programs to bill providers outrageously. Benefits will continue to be managed and medical necessity will still have to be proven. What this bill does accomplish is group health plans will be required to raise the cap to match the medical surgical plans giving the coverage necessary for addicts, alcoholics and those with mental health problems to receive the help they deserve.Mental Health Insurance and Parity