DOL seeks public comment on mental health parity law

The U.S. Departments of Labor (DOL), Treasury, and Health and Human Services (HHS) published a request for information (RFI) in the April 28 Federal Register asking for public comments regarding the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

The mental health parity bill was signed into law in October 2008, ensuring better insurance coverage for mental health treatments. The law requires health care plans to provide equal coverage of mental and physical illness.

Before the bill was signed, insurers could set high co-payments and deductibles and stiff limits on treatment for mental illness and addiction disorders.

The government is now seeking information and advice from the public regarding the best ways to implement the new rules for group health plans.

The public is encouraged to share comments on issues including:
  • The types of financial requirements or treatment limits currently set by health plans.
  • How certain terms in the statute could be clarified to make compliance easier.
  • Health plans’ current disclosure practices regarding medical necessity determinations and denial of medical coverage.
  • Current health plan practices concerning out-of-network coverage for mental health benefits.

Public comments may be submitted by mail, through the Federal eRulemaking Portal (, or by sending an e-mail to Comments will be accepted through May 28, 2009.

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