Push for mental health parity strikes turmoil

Push for mental health parity strikes turmoil

Senators eager to tackle mental health care this year are facing severe headwinds in an effort to ensure parity, the idea that health insurance companies cover behavioral health and substance use at the same level as physical health.

why does it matter: Advocates have accused for decades that insurance companies do not adequately cover behavioral health services. The issue has become a priority for more lawmakers as the after-effects of the pandemic become clear.

News Leadership: The Senate Finance Committee announced five bipartisan mental health “focus areas” in February, including insurance coverage.

  • The committee released discussion drafts on two of the less controversial areas, telehealth and youth mental health. But the imposition of “parity” in insurance coverage is raising resistance from insurance companies and employer groups.
  • One point of contention is the imposition of financial penalties on insurance companies that violate the equivalence requirements that are already written into the law. A Republican aide in the Senate said Republicans have “jurisdictional concerns” because the Senate Assistance Committee shares jurisdiction with the Finance Department.
  • parity ‘maybe [be] The aide said that the last to conclude “from five regions.

Between the lines: Under a 2008 law, insurance companies are supposed to guarantee equal coverage for both physical and mental health. But several federal reports have concluded that this is not happening.

  • working circle Found this year That “health insurance issuers fail to equalize the mental health and substance use disorder benefits of those they cover.”
  • “For example, the health insurance issuer covered nutritional counseling for medical conditions such as diabetes, but not for mental health conditions such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder,” the department said.

be clever: If insurers had to cover more mental health care, premiums and costs could go up. The prospect of passing this on to workers can be particularly difficult for companies in a narrow labor market.

what are they saying: Asked about the insurance company’s push for parity, Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (a raw Democrat) told Axios, “What’s new?”

“[Insurance companies] Wyden said they always say they’re doing a great job. “Everyone is fine, they are doing a great job and we just have to appreciate them.”

  • US health insurance plans were released last month its own roadmap For parity’s sake, I note that the recent “sudden bills” law has strengthened existing federal oversight.
  • Employers objected to some of the applicable parity proposals.

  • Single employer group wrote to Lawmakers earlier this year that the real problem is “the shortage of mental health care providers and mental health care providers who do not want to enter our networks.”

What’s Next: Mental health legislation could be included in a blanket spending package expected at the end of the year, but it is unlikely to be ready in time to be rolled out in a short-term funding bill due this month to keep the government open.

  • “I think everything has been pushed to Omni[bus]Senator Richard Burr (RN.C), who leads the Republican equivalence focus area, tells Axios about mental health efforts in general. I’m engaged in trying to get mental health legislation, but it’s not going to happen in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

Bottom line: Despite the resistance, Wyden says he continues to highlight parity, noting the early efforts of the late former Senators Paul Williston (D-MN) and Pete Domenese (RN.M.).

  • “The Ghost Network is what it sounds like: No service provider, no one to take you to one of them, and if you get a claim, you might get a few bucks,” Wyden said.
  • Senator Michael Bennett (D-Colo), who heads the Democrats’ parity focus area, said in a statement that he is committed to finding a legislative path in Congress.

#Push #mental #health #parity #strikes #turmoil

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.