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Health Aff (Millwood). 2007 Jul-Aug;26(4):w483-7. Epub 2007 Jun 7.

Parity for whom? Exemptions and the extent of state mental health parity legislation.

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  • 1Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.


Between 1997 and 2003, the share of workers subject to mental health parity laws greatly increased. But because of exemptions for self-insured firms and small firms, coverage is much lower than a simple tally of state mandates would suggest. Limits on the types of conditions covered further weaken these laws. This paper summarizes the extent and scope of state parity legislation in terms of the number of insured private-sector employees covered. It explicitly accounts for the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) exemption for self-insured plans, exemptions for small employers, and the range of conditions covered by the law.

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