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Psychiatr Rehabil J. 2003 Summer;27(1):34-42.

The current and future state of mental health insurance parity legislation.

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Creighton University, USA.


Health insurance plans typically provide less coverage for mental health and chemical dependency treatment than for general medical services. In 1996 the federal government responded to these inequities by passing the Mental Health Parity Act, requiring equal annual lifetime dollar limits for mental health benefits. However, provisions within the law are easily circumvented, rendering it relatively ineffective as implemented. The Senator Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2003 measures (S. 486 & H.R. 953) currently in Congress would expand the language and effectiveness of the Mental Health Parity Act. This paper reviews the limitations of both the 1996 federal law and existing state laws, and explains why federal action to expand the Mental Health Parity Act is so critical to people with mental illnesses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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