The news: A new federal report found that many insurers are failing to provide health parity coverage for mental health conditions in compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA).
What is mental health parity law? The MHPAEA was first enacted in 2008 to require equivalent coverage for mental health care and medical/surgical care, but there’s been spotty compliance among insurers.
Historically, patients have to jump through many more hoops to get mental health coverage vs. medical/surgical coverage. And while the MHPAEA is trying to lower those barriers, insurers have been slow to comply.
Why it matters: Coverage imbalances for mental health conditions will only exacerbate the mental health crisis.
What’s next? The Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) is considering enforcing mental health parity laws more strictly, and that means insurers will have to pay fines for not providing broader mental health coverage.
What does this mean in the long run? To compensate, insurers could raise premiums even higher—if they do, we suspect more consumers will turn to insurtechs to get their healthcare coverage.
Personalized plans from insurtechs connect individuals to health plans that fit their specific needs and still offer coverage flexibilities around mental healthcare options (including options like virtual therapy). For example, Oscar Health offers plans with $0 copays for therapy sessions and HealthCare.com lets consumers pick insurance products that best fit their needs.