The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of access to mental health benefits. It also has highlighted how important it is for employers to understand and comply with the law that applies to mental health and substance use disorder benefits.
The most important thing to know is that under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, all health plans with 50 or more participants must apply similar rules to mental health and substance use disorder benefits as they do for physical health benefits. And recent changes to the law require greater documentation for certain limits and other restrictions placed on mental health benefits, to help ensure compliance.
If you are an employer or plan service provider with questions on complying with the law, you can take advantage of the resources the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration has to help you this Mental Health Awareness Month.
Compliance Assistance Webcast. On Thursday, May 27, from 2-3 p.m. ET, join our free webcast on recently enacted changes to the law made by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, answers to new frequently asked questions, and other guidance and tools. Get more information and register here.
Self-Compliance Tool. Our online self-compliance tool consists of questions and examples to help employers assess whether their plans are in compliance with the federal mental health requirements. These include rules relating to coverage limits, medical management standards and preauthorization.
Frequently Asked Questions. We have created a series of answers to frequently asked questions to help you understand federal law.
Publications. You can find publications to help you understand and comply with the law on our website, including the mental health parity section in our Health Benefits Laws Compliance Assistance Guide.
If you have questions, visit our Mental Health Parity page. You also can contact EBSA’s benefits advisors at askebsa.dol.gov or call 1-866-444-3272.
Ali Khawar is the acting assistant secretary of the department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration.