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U.S. Department of Labor Issues Final Mental Health Parity Regulations

August 30, 2016

On November 13, 2013, the Department of Labor’s Employment Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) issued final regulations implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which requires group and individual health plans to provide mental health and substance abuse health coverage to the same extent that they provide medical and surgical coverage. These regulations give finality to earlier interim regulations that have been in effect since 2010.

Like the interim regulations, the final regulations prohibit health coverage providers from applying separate deductible or co-payment requirements to mental health benefits and medical or surgical benefits. Coverage providers also may not impose limitations on mental health treatment that are more restrictive than limitations on medical or surgical treatment. The final regulations also reflect the ACA’s extension of the parity requirements to individual plans and small group plans as well as large employer plans.

The full final rule is available at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EBSA_FRDOC_0001-0119