The Legal Action Center commends the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for issuing a proposed rule to implement the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act for the Medicaid program and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the latest major action demonstrating the Administration’s continued commitment to expanding addiction and mental health coverage and ensuring that the parity law is fully implemented. LAC welcomes the strong provisions of the proposed rule, including provisions that apply much of the final parity rule for commercial insurance to Medicaid, expressly extend parity protections to people enrolled in managed care plans that carve out coverage for addiction and mental health treatment, and authorize states to include funding in their state plans to come into compliance with parity that is not subject to state plan limits.
According to LAC’s President and Director Paul Samuels, “Millions of Medicaid beneficiaries go without needed treatment for substance use and mental disorders, often because their plan provides inadequate coverage for these services. The proposed rule is a welcome step in the direction of closing the gap between substance use and mental health treatment needs and the treatment that is actually available to people.”
“The proposed rule would protect the rights of 21.6 million Medicaid beneficiaries and 850,000 CHIP beneficiaries,” said Gabrielle de la Gueronniere, LAC’s Director for National Policy. “We hope HHS can move quickly to adopt a final rule so states can fully implement parity as soon as possible.”
Legal Action Center will be closely analyzing the proposed rule and working with our partners in the Coalition for Whole Health to submit comments that identify areas of strength in the proposed rule as well as areas where the final rule should be strengthened to fulfill the promise of parity.