The Mental Health Parity Bill of 2007

Law_Politics.jpgLast month, the U.S. Senate approved what will be known as the Mental Health Parity Bill. This piece of legislation will require group health plans with mental health benefits to offer them at the same level as physical health benefits. The measure does not affect individual insurance plans but only group. This bill certainly destigmatizes mental illness by not allowing mental health to be treated differently by health insurers. Some highlights include having the same deductibles, copayments, number of visits, days of coverage, and annual or lifetime limits as physical illness. It also includes substance abuse treatment.

It has been a long time coming for mental health to gain equal footing for physical health. If you have ever suffered mental disease or know somebody who has, you know that mental disorders are not simple to treat and can require prolonged periods of expensive therapy. Psychiatrists and other mental health providers have been financially squeezed because their reimbursements do not account for the extent of treatment. Many providers have been forced to limit their patient visits to 15 minutes in order to be able to make their practices financially solvent.

As a consumer of health care, I think it is great to know that I can access mental health care should I ever need it. Hopefully, the final version of the Bill that hits Congress and President Bush’s desk will not be too different from its current version.

  • parity fanatic for YEARS

    The Senate Bill (S558) is not as broad as the House version (HR1367)
    The House version follows the Federal Employees Health plan which covers ALL mental illness diagnoses. Over 8.5 million Federal employees & their dependents have had this BROAD definition coverage since 2001 by executive order of Democratic President- Clinton.
    The Senate version would allow the group plan to LIMIT the mental illness diagnoses covered; this makes the parity more limited!
    Both bills would require Self-insured plans to comply with this requirement.
    These bills are not mandates. If a plan would decide to not cover mental illness at all, it could.
    The definition our representatives have SHOULD be what we private sector turkeys deserve.

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  • Deb

    Good news that it will be treated the same, and payment won’t be different. That will help so many families who struggle to make ends meet, and decide if they can afford treatment or not.

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  • Nice observation, thanks.

  • truthman

    I am an ex user of paxil ( seroxat in the UK) and i have good reason to believe that Paxil causes long term neurological damage ..

    I do hope this new Bill will recognise the dangers of paxil and other spych drugs and the damage they can cause to people…

    This drug is very dangerous..

    I have set up a blog documenting the Paxil(Seroxat) scandal…

    Please check out my blog..

    any comments or debate about Paxil would be appreciated , thanks.

  • Woodworking Projects

    I am quite surprised that I haven’t heard updates regarding this bill in today’s administration. Everyone’s talking about Health Bill this and that, but I have yet to hear about this one…

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Dr. JC is a medical doctor who has a passion for health promotion and education.

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