Now that the Tri-agencies have drawn back the curtains to reveal some of the inner workings of their developing Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) comparative analysis enforcement efforts, the question is: What’s next?
Continue Reading Mental Health Parity: What’s Next for Plans and Issuers?

The Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (“HHS”), and the Treasury (the “Tri-agencies”) released their 2022 annual report to Congress on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (“MHPAEA”) on Tuesday, January 25. The Employee Benefits Security Administration (“EBSA”) released an FY 2021 MHPAEA Enforcement Fact Sheet alongside the annual report. Together, the Tri-agencies’ report and EBSA fact sheet provide additional, important information for group health plans and health insurance issuers looking to comply with the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act’s (“CAA”) non-quantitative treatment limitation (“NQTL”) comparative analysis requirements. But plans and issuers need additional agency guidance.
Continue Reading 2022 MHPAEA Annual Report Illuminates Tri-agency Review and Enforcement Priorities in a Post-Consolidated Appropriations Act World

The regulators for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) have just issued guidance on health plan disclosures for non-quantitative treatment limitations (NQTLs).  This guidance consists of an FAQ and a proposed model form for plan members to request information so they can determine whether their plan’s NQTLs are at parity.

The regulations

On April 6, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released a proposed rule to implement the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (“MHPAEA”) for coverage offered by Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (“MCOs”), Medicaid Alternative Benefit Plans (“ABPs”) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (“CHIP”).  MHPAEA requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to ensure that financial requirements or treatment limitations applicable to mental health and substance-use disorder (“MH/SUD”) benefits are comparable to, and are applied no more stringently than, the same financial requirements or treatment limitations applied to medical and surgical (“M/S”) benefits.  Interim final regulations implementing MHPAEA for commercial plans were jointly issued by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and the Treasury (collectively, the “Departments”) in February 2010, and final regulations were jointly issued by the Departments in November 2013 (hereinafter, the “Joint Regulations”).

Since the passage of the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996, parity mandates have been enacted that reach most types of health care coverage, although what is required by “parity” laws can vary greatly.  In 2001, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program implemented parity for in-network mental health and substance use disorder benefits. MHPAEA was enacted in 2008 to extend the reach and scope of parity (to include, among other factors, substance-use disorder benefits) in large group coverage.  The Affordable Care Act’s Essential Health Benefits requirements now require most individual and small group coverage to include mental health and substance use disorder benefits, and these benefit must be provided in compliance with MHPAEA.  If finalized, this CMS proposed rule would further clarify the application of mental health parity requirements, in this case to Medicaid programs.

Continue Reading CMS Proposed Rule Implements Mental-Health Parity Requirements for Medicaid Managed Care and CHIP Plans