Mental Health Parity Now in Sight

Recently, mingled in with the 700 billion bailout, something good happened. Legislation passed that put mental health care on a par with other illnesses. What that means is still somewhat unclear, (the implimentaton rules will be written by the next president likely) but it boils down to this.

One year from when it passed, in October of 2009, health insurers will now have to, when they offer mental health, offer it on the same terms as other medical issues. That includes the same deductibles and copays. That also means the same lifetime limits (no caps). 

But it does not assure all insurers will offer mental health. That’s a fight that will be fought in the wider health care debate bound to be decided with the next president. It also is not applicable to businesses with less than 50 people. Individually insured individuals are not covered. Some sights, such as mentalhealthnotes.com, seem puzzled whether it will make a difference.

For now I for one am heartened. It does begin the deconstruction of the stygmatization, and gets a seat at the table now for the health care debate. Its important that the mental health community assertively make sure we have a prominent voice when those discussions begin in Washington.

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