Health Insurance Parity

The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) was passed in October, 2008 to end discriminatory health care practices against those with mental illness and/or addiction. The statute provides that plans cannot apply financial requirements or treatment limitations to mental health or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits that are more restrictive than as applied to medical/surgical benefits.

  • On November 8, 2013, the Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services issued a final rule governing its implementation for group and individual health plans.
  • On March 29, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule applying MHPAEA to Medicaid managed care, CHIP and Alternative Benefit Plans.
  • On October 27, 2016, the White House Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force released its report, which highlights progress to date on parity implementation and offers recommendations to support consumers and improve parity implementation and enforcement. A summary of the report and accompanying guidance is available here.

As part of the Parity Implementation Coalition, ASAM advocates for full implementation and enforcement of MHPAEA. Learn more at

ASAM Advocacy

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