Today, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced that settlements were reached with five health insurance companies and two companies that manage mental health coverage for insurers based on state investigations into mental health parity violations. In response, former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, lead author of the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Federal Parity Law) and founder of The Kennedy Forum, said the following:
I applaud Attorney General Maura Healey for holding these insurers and administrators accountable for parity violations. For far too long, insurers have been able to make their own rules about covering mental health and addiction treatment without recourse. Such illegal practices of conspiring to deny care have undoubtedly contributed to historic rates of overdoses and suicides that continue to devastate families nationwide.
Other states and the federal government must follow Massachusetts’ lead in demanding that insurers end discriminatory practices against those with mental health and substance use disorders. When they do, we will finally be able to stop the insufficient reimbursement rates that are making it nearly impossible for people to find providers in-network. We all have a role to play in addressing the U.S. mental health crisis. Today, you are seeing true progress.
Additional Parity Resources & Information from The Kennedy Forum
Affordable Mental Health Care? It’s Getting Even Tougher to Access—Kaiser Health News coverage of Milliman report. “The moment [insurers] make payment the same for brain illnesses as for any other illnesses, the sooner we’re going to get to people having the access to the treatment they need.” – Patrick J. Kennedy
ParityRegistry.org—A website where consumers can learn to file an appeal and/or register a complaint against their health plan after being wrongfully denied coverage for mental health or addiction treatment services.
ParityTrack.org—A website where policymakers, consumers, and media can track legislative, regulatory, and legal parity activities in all 50 states and at the federal level to monitor implementation and best practices.
DontDenyMe.org—A website that educates consumers and providers about patient rights under the Federal Parity Law and provides downloadable materials for use in patient settings.
Mental Health for US—a nonpartisan educational initiative focused on elevating mental health and addiction in policy conversations during the 2020 election cycle. The initiative is powered by a coalition of stakeholder groups from around the country dedicated to uniting the American people to make systemic, long-term change with civic engagement tools and resources.