The U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and the Treasury have published interim final rules under the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA). The MHPAEA expands the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA), which mandated parity of certain lifetime and annual dollar limits for mental health benefits and medical/surgical benefits. The MHPAEA expands the scope of parity under the MHPA to include: (1) financial requirements (e.g., deductibles, copayments, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums) and treatment limitations (e.g., length of stay and number of sessions); and (2) protections for substance use disorder benefits. The new regulations, published February 2, 2010, clarify a number of significant issues for employers and are generally effective for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2010.
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