Less than half of Americans know that there is a law providing consumer protections specifically for mental health and substance use disorder insurance benefits. Over 41 million adults in the U.S. have some form of mental illness, yet in 2014, only 19.4 million adults received mental health care. In the same year, approximately 22.5 million people aged 12 or older in the U.S. had substance use disorder, but only 206 million people received treatment at a specialty facility.1
President Obama created the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force to ensure that Americans understand parity protections and receive the mental health and substance use disorder insurance coverage and treatment they need. After a long history of mental health and substance use disorders being treated differently by health plans-with more limited benefits-parity protections are meant to ensure fairness and that mental health and substance use disorder benefits are comparable to other medical benefits.
So what does mental health and substance use disorder parity mean for you? It means that insurers need to treat co-payments, treatment limits, and prior authorization for mental health, substance use disorder, the same way they treat them for physical health care.
Tell us what you think?
Let your voice be heard. Now until August 31, 2016, the Task Force is encouraging patients, families, consumer advocates, health care providers, insurers, and other stakeholders to share their experience with mental health and substance use disorder insurance parity.
1 Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.