- November 20, 2017
Insurers continue to violate the Federal Parity Law, which requires illnesses of the brain to be treated no differently than illnesses of the body
Washington, D.C. / November 20, 2017 – Health plan denials for mental health or addiction treatment services can strike a devastating blow to families already struggling to help loved ones. For far too long, insurance companies have violated the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which requires them to treat diseases of the brain, such as clinical depression and opioid addiction, the same way they treat illnesses of the body, such cancer and heart disease. A website called Parity Registry can help families fight back. Developed by The Kennedy Forum, Parity Registry is the only resource in the U.S. where consumers, family members, providers, case managers, and legal advocates can:
- Learn how to file an appeal with their health plan.
- Send a complaint directly to state enforcement officials after being wrongfully denied coverage for mental health or addiction treatment services.
- Access step-by-step appeals guidance.
- Find a comprehensive listing of state and federal regulators who can help with an appeal.
- Review FAQs and other information to help advance their appeal.
- Tell their personal story about difficulties with insurance coverage.
View the Parity Registry website here. The data collected by Parity Registry will provide the insights necessary to help shape public policy and influence future legislation.
“Access to mental health and addiction care is a civil right, and something we need to protect and defend,” said former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), founder of The Kennedy Forum and member of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. “If everyday citizens are empowered to fight back against illegal denials, we can finally implement a system—with the help of state attorneys general, insurance commissioners, and the Dept. of Labor—that truly enforces the law. Together, we can move from fighting stigma to fighting discrimination.”
Prior to the development of Parity Registry, The Kennedy Forum created a Parity Track website to monitor implementation of the Federal Parity Law in all 50 states. The site keeps tabs on what state insurance commissioners and attorneys general have done to implement the law, and tracks all parity-related legislation that has been introduced since the law was passed. More than 1,000 pieces of legislation and regulatory actions are currently summarized on the website. It also provides guidance for state regulators in helping to implement the more complicated aspects of the Federal Parity Law.
Watch The Kennedy Forum’s video about parity rights and the Parity Registry tool here.
About The Kennedy Forum
Founded in 2013 by former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.), The Kennedy Forum focuses on advancing evidence-based practices, policies, and programming in mental health and substance use issues. This is achieved through promoting public discourse in health and addiction issues, ensuring equal coverage for patients living with mental health and/or substance use disorders; and advancing prevention and treatment throughout the entire continuum of the healthcare delivery system. The Kennedy Forum’s collaborative partnerships help to foster greater provider accountability, integration and coordination, cutting-edge technologies, and brain fitness and health. The nonprofit organization publishes frequent issue briefs and is a repository of other educational resources on parity issues. To learn more, visit www.thekennedyforum.org.
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Just as President Kennedy rallied the nation to dream big and set audacious goals 50 years ago, The Kennedy Forum seeks to set a new standard for the future of health care in the United States.
Our mission is big, and the stakes are clear. We seek to unite the health care system, and rally the mental health community around a common set of principles: Fully implement the 2008 parity law, bring business leaders and government agencies together to eliminate issues of stigma, work with providers to guarantee equal access to care, ensure that policymakers have the tools they need to craft better policy, and give consumers a way to understand their rights.