There is now a United States law stating that certain health plans must cover mental health and substance use (MH/SU) services comparably (in a similar way) to medical and surgical care, or what most people refer to as physical health. Many simply refer to the requirement of the law as parity. In this document created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), common questions about the parity law are answered. This resource describes the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 for people with employer-sponsored health plans who need treatment for mental and/or substance use disorders. It discusses how to file a claim, the denial of a claim and the appeals process. This information will help patients and families gain access to mental health and substance use services that need to be paid for (either fully or partially) by health insurance. As of 2019, enforcement of this law has been highly variable and lack of parity often remains signaling the need for ongoing advocacy efforts with insurers and state insurance regulators.
Access “Parity of Mental Health and Substance Use Benefits With Other Benefits: Using Your Employer-Sponsored Health Plan To Cover Services Know Your Rights” at: https://store.samhsa.gov/product/Parity-of-Mental-Health-and-Substance-Use-Benefits-with-Other-Benefits-Using-Your-Employer-Sponsored-Health-Plan-to-Cover-Services/SMA16-4937