Signed in 2008 by President George W. Bush, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (Parity) required doctors and insurers to treat mental illness the same as physical illness. However, when it was signed into law, it was not completely implemented. On Friday, November 8th, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius announced a huge step forward with implementation: the final rule, defining just how it will be implemented. Until now, states could implement the rule however they wanted to. Now the rule will also apply to private insurance for companies employing over 50 employees.
With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and this most recent news, mental illness and addiction help are getting the attention they deserve. The ACA significantly extends Parity requirements. For more information about Parity and the ACA, click here.
NC had success this past July when the Treasurer’s Department declared that seeing a mental health profession on the State Health Plan would fall under the primary care co-pay rather than the specialty co-pay- a requirement under Parity that had not been implemented. NASW-NC was an active partner in the advocacy groups that pushed this change.
NASW-NC will continue to provide updates on the implementation and news from NC as the state works to implement parity in conjunction with the ACA.