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Health Insurance Providers Continue To Expand Access To Comprehensive Mental Health Care

by AHIP

October 3, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This month marks the tenth anniversary of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) – landmark legislation that promotes access to and coverage for quality, affordable mental health care on par with medical or surgical care. Since its initial implementation and subsequent expansion to the individual market, health insurance providers have made coverage available for comprehensive mental health care and/or treatment for substance use disorders an essential and equal component of overall health and well-being.  Innovative programs help ensure parity, support patient access to the comprehensive mental health care and enhance whole-person care.

Mental health and physical health are interconnected. Patients deserve holistic care that effectively addresses their physical, mental, and social well-being,” said Matt Eyles, President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). “That’s why health insurance providers are continuing to work diligently to improve access to and coverage for quality mental health care and make it on par with and in coordination with physical care.

Health insurance providers across the country are working more closely with physicians, nurses, hospitals and other mental health professionals on integrated care solutions that can meet and exceed the MHPAEA. They have launched new programs, tools, and resources that rely on proven treatments based on clinical guidelines to track and improve care quality. Examples of innovative efforts by health insurance providers include:

  • employing care managers who work proactively with patients, screening for mental health concerns. If concerns are identified, patients are assisted with understanding their options and finding quality, coordinated care.
  • creating behavioral health homes for patients and embedding behavioral health care clinicians in primary care doctors’ offices.
  • leveraging new technology such as telemedicine to deliver efficient, effective and affordable access to mental health care, especially where the supply of and access to mental health professionals may be limited, to augment venues and options for care.

However, there are still are challenges that exist and opportunities for more enhanced, streamlined integration. Health insurance providers remain committed to addressing those challenges and working together with care providers to ensure patients receive safe, effective and evidence-based mental health services coordinated with their medical care. More information and examples on how health insurance providers nationwide are instituting innovative mental health parity benefits and programs for their members can be found here.


About AHIP

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is the national trade association representing the health insurance community. AHIP’s members provide health and supplemental benefits to millions of Americans through employer-provided coverage, the individual insurance market, and public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. AHIP advocates for solutions that expand access to affordable health care coverage to all Americans through a competitive marketplace that fosters choice, quality, and innovation. Visit www.ahip.org for more information.