Following years of strong advocacy by the Practice Organization for full mental health parity, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) became law in October 2008 and went into effect in January 2010. It closed the loopholes in the 1996 law and set a uniform standard to end insurance discrimination for mental health and substance abuse coverage in private employer health plans.
The Final Rule was released on November 8, 2013, and reinforced both the intent and the spirit of the law. It incorporated several suggestions from the Practice Organization’s April 2013 letter suggesting ways to make the Final Rule more enforceable, such as reinforcing and better explaining the provider reimbursement parity requirement. In January 2014, the Practice Organization submitted a comment letter addressing concerns related to implementation of MHPAEA under the Final Rule. Since then the Practice Organization has met with key federal regulators pressing for prompt action and enforcement on the Practice Organization’s eight outstanding parity complaints.