Federal mental health insurance parity

10 Jul

As noted recently, there is a push to keep mental health parity in US Federal laws for insurance.

Why do I say “keep”? Because there is already an act to include mental health parity (which includes autism) on the books, which if I recall correctly, is set to go into effect Jan 1, 2010.

I discussed this while the legislation was ongoing. It is now public law 110-343, and can be found here. Don’t be put off by the fact that the abstract states:

To provide authority for the Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system and protecting taxpayers, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend certain expiring provisions, to provide individual income tax relief, and for other purposes.

“Other purposes”…they don’t even mention the mental health parity act until page 98! Ironic considering that the bill started out as the “Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act”.

So, why the push to lobby Nancy Pelosi and others to “end discrimination”? First is that this “Equity Act” didn’t apply to everyone with insurance in the US. But, mostly, the reason is ecause the Federal government is discussing big changes in the way insurance is governed (per Obama’s campaign promises).

7 Responses to “Federal mental health insurance parity”

  1. rajensen088 July 10, 2009 at 15:13 #

    Insurance Companies simply don’t want to pay for expensive treatments and will do anything to avoid paying. The Prudential Insurance Co. denied payment of speech and language therapy and other therapies my daughter was receiving at a pediatric rehabilitation hospital. The claimed at the time (1989) that the policy doesn’t cover treatement for mental illness. Dr. Edward Ritvo of UCLA and an ass’t editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders brought a lawsuit in California that he won with the court ruling that ‘Autism’ was not a mental illness. I wrote to Dr. Ritvo and he sent me the entire court ruling which I used in confronting Prudential.

    Prudential then wrote back with a new exclusion, ‘Autism’ treatment is educational hence the responsibility of the local school sytem (my daughter wasn’t even in school at the time).

    Autism is now in a catch-22 situation, insurance companies can cite the California ruling and claim that autism is not a mental illness and therefore is not covered under any mental health parity law.

    Currently discrimination can only end on a state by state basis and Autism Speaks has taken the lead in testifying before state legislatures and funded an advertising campaign to end discrimination against autistic treatement on a national basis:


    Only national legislature will ensure this discrimination ends. Call Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid at the number in the 30 second advertisment now being shown nationally in the US.

  2. Harry July 10, 2009 at 15:56 #

    If anybody’s having trouble commenting here please come on over to


    That’s where we’ve all gone to debate this issue…

    • Sullivan July 10, 2009 at 18:06 #

      “If anybody’s having trouble commenting here please come on over to”

      Two more solutions are

      a) email me with your comments (sullivansjourney@gmail.com)
      b) email me with your request for an account if you are having problems creating one.

  3. Another Voice July 11, 2009 at 13:22 #

    I went over to the above mentioned blog, nothing was being posted about “Federal Mental Health Insurance Parity”. So there was no movement of any debate as Harry indicated. There is plenty of gripping about LB/RB and that was about all.

  4. MattC July 17, 2009 at 04:22 #

    I fought hard to get insurance coverage for my autistic kid. I thought it was great they finally added mental health parity to the federal law.

  5. Sasha08 October 8, 2011 at 12:27 #

    Many health plans discriminate against millions of Americans suffering from mental disorders, limiting mental health and substance abuse healthcare by imposing lower day and visit limits, higher deductibles and deductibles and lower annual expenditure ceilings and duration. Clinical point of view, insurance is a huge obstacle. Psychiatry in general there are limits to the cover, which could impede patient care. Insurance Company, which does not limit the number of days to treat a diabetic can ask someone in a mental illness pay out-of-pocket days are not covered.



  1. Twitted by chokha - July 12, 2009

    […] This post was Twitted by chokha […]

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