New Laws Recognize Mental Health Care As On Par to Physical Health Care

When it comes to a person’s well-being, both mental health and physical health issues can be equally debilitating and overwhelming, if in different ways. However, insurance companies have long resisted treating them equally, building in separate deductibles, higher copays, and lower lifetime limits—when mental health coverage has been offered at all. But two laws are shifting the landscape. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 kicked in this past summer: insurance plans that provide mental health and addiction benefits cannot demand higher rates or lesser coverage for therapy and other treatment as they do for physical health treatment. And while mental health coverage is still optional, the recent health care overall will require mental health coverage for all plans beginning in 2014.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

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  • dora


    October 12th, 2010 at 4:32 AM

    That is such good news- our insurance in the past has been made unaffordable because my husband was clinically depressed a few years ago and since then we have seen our premiums go through tha roof. We have been afraid to try to change coverage though because we were sure we would just be dropped and not be able to get anything at all. I know that everyone thinks that healthcare reform has big problems, and maybe it is not ideal, but very necessary and maybe many families like mine can reap the benefits of finally feeling like someone cares.

  • RT


    October 12th, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    Great news.For too long people have been a slave to such policies of insurances companies and they end up burning a hole in their pocket.This ruling will definitely come as a life-saver for all such people.

  • goldrat


    October 12th, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    its great but hey should have implemented this in a more inclusive way from a much earlier date.the fact that the date is still over three years away does not help at all.

    mental health facilities are far fewer than general health facilities and this pushes the cost of mental health care up.this also results in insurance companies being hesitant to provide more facilities will mean cheaper facilities which will further translate into total coverage.

  • Georgia


    October 13th, 2010 at 4:43 AM

    You would have thought that the “intelligencia” who run the country would have figured this out a long time ago. But hey, at least they are finally coming around.

  • Southie


    October 13th, 2010 at 4:47 AM

    I completely agree with you, goldrat. As and when there are more centres where these facilities are available the costs involved will drop significantly too.

    So the concentration should be to reach out to the masses to open more and more facility centres all over so that the maximum number of people benefit from them and also because the costs involved will drop then.

  • Angelique


    October 20th, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Hallelujah! Better late than never. That just goes to show that if collective voices shout loud enough and for long enough, sooner or later those voices will be heard by those in power and they will act.

  • Sabrina


    October 21st, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    At last we have something with teeth that lets us fight our corner with the insurance companies. The law is on our side, people! I’m happy. (It’s a shame they took forever to get these rights onto the lawbooks, mind you.)

  • Paulette


    October 22nd, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    Give it another oh, thirty years, and you may not even need to fight at all. That idea of it being equally important as physical health will be accepted without a murmur, even by the insurance companies. I live in hope.

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