APA Endorses Federal Parity Bill; Urges Congress to Quickly Pass Legislation

Washington, D.C. — The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is endorsing “The Mental Health Parity Compliance Act,” a new bipartisan bill introduced today that would enhance the transparency and accountability of insurers’ coverage of mental health and substance use benefits, in compliance with the federal parity law.

The federal parity law, enacted in 2008, requires health plans to treat mental illness and substance use disorders the same as other ailments; however, there is a lack of oversight to ensure patients are receiving equal mental health coverage under the law. ERISA, or self-funded employment plans, are outside the enforcement jurisdiction of state agencies. This new legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), will tighten parity enforcement for these ERISA plans.

“For too long insurers have neglected their responsibility to adequately provide coverage for patients with mental illness or substance use disorders,” said APA President Bruce Schwartz, M.D. “This bill will help to ensure those patients be treated like patients with any other illness and end this harmful discrimination.”

“We wholeheartedly support this bill and we urge the Senate and the House to take this up soon and pass it,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “Our patients depend on adequate insurance for their care.”

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,500 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org.

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