APA Marks 10 Year Anniversary of Federal Mental Health Parity Law; Offers Model Parity Legislation to all 50 States

Washington, D.C. – Today marks the 10th anniversary of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, federal legislation designed to ensure that insurance coverage for mental health and substance use disorders care is no more restrictive than insurance coverage for other medical care.

“It has been 10 years since passage of one of the most significant pieces of federal legislation to affect people with mental health and substance use disorders,” said APA President Altha Stewart, M.D. “Unfortunately, many insurers are still not in full compliance with the law, particularly in how they create and apply their managed care practices like prior authorization, step-down therapy, and establishing a full continuum of care in their provider networks. APA was a driving force in enacting the Federal Parity Law in 2008 and remains committed to full parity implementation.”

APA has crafted parity implementation legislation for every state and the District of Columbia, based on model legislation that has been enacted in several states. States have primary enforcement authority over insurers that sell individual and group policies. The draft legislation would require insurers to report to state regulators how they design and apply their managed care tactics. APA’s model legislation has been carefully drafted to reflect existing laws and terminology in each state, and each bill is formatted exactly like other pieces of legislation in that state.

“There has been significant progress toward parity in the last decade, but there is still much work to be done,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “Through our model parity legislation, APA hopes to work with all 50 states to close the gaps and ensure that everyone living with mental illness or substance use disorder is able to access the care they need.”

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 37,800 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.

Media Contacts

Glenn O'Neal, 202-459-9732

Erin Connors, 202-609-7113