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Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Feds Expand Mental Health Coverage
Health insurers must cover mental health services at the same level as physical ailments under new federal rules.
The Obama administration released final regulations late last week requiring that most insurance plans offer an equivalent level of coverage for mental health as they do for medical and surgical needs.
Traditionally, individuals in need of mental health services have incurred higher out-of-pocket costs and often faced limits on the number of doctor visits or days spent at an in-patient facility.
Under the new rules, however, co-payments, deductibles and limits on the number of visits to mental health providers cannot differ significantly from those imposed for more traditional medical treatments.
“This final rule breaks down barriers that stand in the way of treatment and recovery services for millions of Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius who indicated that the changes will make treatment “more affordable and accessible.”
The rules were long-awaited by mental health advocates, coming five years after Congress passed a law to ensure mental health parity. The new regulations detail how the law will be administered.
Read more of Michelle Diament's Disability Scoop article HERE.