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Health Aff (Millwood). 2001 Jul-Aug;20(4):58-67.

Full parity: steps toward treatment equity for mental and addictive disorders.

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Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, USA.


The 1996 Mental Health Parity Act requiring equal annual and lifetime dollar limits for mental health benefits is to sunset 30 September 2001. This paper reviews the impact and limitations of both this law and existing state provisions and describes recent research on the actual and projected costs associated with such laws. We contend that full parity provided within the context of managed care not only is possible, but represents a "sequential" rather than a final step toward the broader goal of achieving equity in the treatment of persons with mental and addictive disorders.

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