CASAColumbia applauds the Obama Administration’s plans to release long-awaited final regulations implementing the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), which requires insurers to offer mental health and addiction benefits on par with other medical/surgical benefits. MHPAEA’s requirements are further expanded by the Affordable Care Act, which requires certain health plans to cover essential health benefits, including addiction benefits. However, despite these protections, no blueprint for optimum or even effective services has been provided to guide insurers in deciding which addiction benefits to offer. To fill this gap, CASAColumbia has developed recommendations for the critical addiction prevention and treatment benefits that should be included in health insurance plans. These recommendations, based on a large body of research, identify those addiction-related benefits that have been shown to improve patient outcomes and can be expected to reduce the costly burden of risky substance use and untreated addiction. We are in the process of developing further guidance specifically related to the implementation of the parity provisions.
Emily Feinstein, JD
Program Director, Policy to Practice