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Mental Health Insurance Parity vs Insurance Industry: Who’s Winning?

I want to trust insurance companies. I want to believe that they understand the connection between mental and physical health and that health care costs would drop if we treated both equally and fairly. I want to believe that insurance companies put people before profits and that they play by the rules. But they don’t because there are no rules.

It’s been four years since President George Bush signed the Paul Wellstone & Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act  and still we have no rules. Why is it taking so long for regulators to write rules requiring insurance companies to provide equal coverage for mental and physical health? How hard can it be to draft regulations that ban separate co-pays or higher deductibles for mental health treatment and medications? Come on. Four years? Herman Melville churned out Moby Dick in less than four years and I almost read it in four years.

Getting the Parity Act passed was a monumental accomplishment that capped a 12 year battle between parity advocates, such as former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, D-Rhode Island, and former Senator Jim Ramstad, R-Minn and the insurance industry. It was the greatest medical civil rights victory of our generation. The law would finally ensure that people with mental illnesses would get the care they need and that mental illnesses would finally be accepted as legitimate medical conditions.  That has not happened.


-3 Comments to
Mental Health Insurance Parity vs Insurance Industry: Who’s Winning?

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  1. As far as MY insurance, parity is NOT working, because the insurance only covers a few “Biologically Based Mental Illnesses,” and there is a high deductible, so without qualifying for the “Biologically Based Mental Illness,” we never reached the deductible before using up all the limited number of visits. It’s exhausting — fighting with the schools to get services, fighting with insurance, plus the extra battles of dealing with my child. And in the long run knowing that there will be LESS cost to both insurance and society if insurance would just pay for what we have actually already paid for through our premiums.

  2. I think this insurance need to mainly focus on Skilled Nursing Facility as the people who are suffering from this issue mainly need someone to take care as they can’t take care of themselves !

  3. Even in CA where parity is already law, the insurance companies never paid out at parity. They paid far more for my shoulder surgery than they ever did for mental health. Furthermore they denied coverage for more therapy just when I needed it most.


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