After parity—what's next

David L Shern, Kirsten K Beronio, Henry T Harbin
Health Affairs 2009, 28 (3): 660-2
A new law prohibiting unequal treatment limits and financial requirements for mental health and substance abuse (MH/SA) benefits establishes critical protections for 113 million Americans. The new parity law doesn't mandate coverage for MH/SA treatment and anticipates management of the benefit. Given these features, clear regulations mapping the intent of the law are critical. Education regarding the costs of untreated or ineffectively treated MH/SA conditions is needed to encourage comprehensive coverage, because academic performance and worker productivity are at stake. As health care reform proceeds, we must use the new law to reinforce the centrality of mental health to overall health.

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