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May 13, 2009
Federal Gov't Seeks Advice on Mental Health Parity Law

The three federal government agencies principally responsible for implementing the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 are seeking information and advice from the public addressing critical issues surrounding the best ways to implement the law and fulfill its objectives.

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Under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, insurance companies must cover mental and physical illnesses equally. The provision is the culmination of years of effort by legislators to expand upon the 1996 Mental Health Parity Act. The new law expands parity to include deductibles, co-payments, out-of-pocket expenses, co-insurance, covered hospital stays, and covered out-patient visits. Companies with less than 50 employees are exempt.

Among the issues that the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Internal Revenue Service are seeking information on are issues related to the most efficient and cost-effective ways of implementing the law.  In addition, the request for information seeks information that would be helpful in the development of regulations needed to implement the law. 
The Federal Register announcement can be accessed at: Comments must be submitted on or before May 28, 2009.

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