Today, the White House Parity Task Force issued recommendations to the President for improving the implementation and enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA).  The Departments also issued additional guidance on the implementation of MHPAEA and tools to assist consumers with navigating the law.

The Parity Implementation Coalition (PIC), a group of addiction and mental health consumer and provider organizations committed to the implementation and enforcement of the 2008 parity law and regulations, is encouraged by the release of the Task Force’s report.  “We thank the federal agencies for their ongoing efforts to clarify and fully implement the federal parity law as it was intended by Congress,” said PIC Co-Chair Mark Covall, who is president and CEO of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS).  “We are particularly pleased that one of the immediate actions was the release of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Consumer Guide to Disclosure Rights, which lists critical documents consumers are entitled to receive from their health plans.”

“The recommendations for future action in the report are critically important to ensuring consumers are able to access to the benefits promised to them under the law.  In particular, we support the recommendation extending health plan disclosure requirements for medical/surgical benefits to non-ERISA plans,” said PIC Co-Chair Beth Ann Middlebrook, Of Counsel with the Watershed Addiction Treatment Programs. “The PIC continues to look forward to working with consumers, health plans, providers, and the federal government to implement these recommendations and make parity a reality for all people living with mental health and addiction disorders.”

The Parity Implementation Coalition looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration on the issuance of complete and specific guidance that will provide additional specificity on templates and other materials that will help achieve both the spirit and the letter of the parity law.

Summary of the Task Force's Recommendations