Insurers At Odds With Government Over Details Of Mental Health Coverage
A federal law intended to ease access to mental health care is hitting a few bumps in the road as the government issues rules on implementation.
The Mental Health Parity Act of 2008 requires insurance providers to apply the same coverage limits and payment requirements for mental health treatment as they do for other types of medical services on plans that cover mental health. Previously, such services often incurred higher co-pays or were subject to limits that were inconsistent with those for treatment of physical ailments.
However, as the Obama administration issues rules outlining how insurers must comply with the new law, insurance companies are putting up a fight. While everyone agrees that the law removes restrictions specific to the mental health care a patient can receive, rules issued by the administration also extend such fairness guidelines to the way insurers select and reimburse doctors on their plans.
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Health insurers say these rules take the law too far. They argue that Congress intended to provide patients equal access to care, not regulate the way insurance companies treat doctors.
But patient advocates insist true access to mental health care cannot happen if treatment providers aren’t offered a level playing field. Further, advocates say the rules implemented by the administration will merely ensure that patients have mental health providers to choose from since doctors will be paid adequately, reports The New York Times. To read more click here.