The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of access to mental health benefits. It also has highlighted how important it is for employers to understand and comply with the law that applies to mental health and substance use disorder benefits.
The most important thing to know is that under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, all health plans with 50 or more participants must apply similar rules to mental health and substance use disorder benefits as they do for physical health benefits. And recent changes to the law require greater documentation for certain limits and other restrictions placed on mental health benefits, to help ensure compliance. Following these changes, EBSA committed significant new resources to ensuring compliance with the law and heightened our commitment to mental health parity.
If you are an employer or plan service provider with questions about complying with the law, you can take advantage of these helpful resources:
Compliance Assistance Webcast. On Tuesday, May 24, from 2-3 p.m. ET, join our free webcast on changes to the law made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, frequently asked questions, and other guidance and tools. Get more information and register here.
Self-Compliance Tool. Our online self-compliance tool consists of questions and examples to help employers assess whether their plans are in compliance with the federal mental health requirements. These include rules relating to coverage limits, medical management standards and preauthorization.
Frequently Asked Questions. We have created a series of answers to frequently asked questions to help you understand federal law.
Publications. You can find publications to help you understand and comply with the law on our website, including the mental health parity section in our Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Guide.
Ali Khawar is the acting assistant secretary of the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.