November 8, 2013

American Psychological Association Statement Commending the Final Regulation for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008

WASHINGTON — American Psychological Association Executive Director for Professional Practice Katherine C. Nordal, PhD, issued the following statement in response to the release of the final regulations implementing the mental health parity and addiction act:

The American Psychological Association welcomes the publication of the final rule and full implementation of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. This final rule will enhance Americans’ access to necessary mental health treatment and further protect consumers from discriminatory insurance practices.  

Since Jan. 1, 2010, patients have seen the benefits of the new parity law: Insurance companies have no longer been able to assign higher copayments or deductibles to those in need of psychological services and have ended arbitrary limits to the number of hospital days or outpatient treatment sessions for mental health disorders. Millions of Americans have already seen their insurance expanded to provide coverage for mental health care that is equal to that provided for physical health care.

Together with others in the mental health community, APA has worked to make sure that the intent of Congress was reflected in the implementation of the parity law. The new rule reinforces both the intent and the spirit of the law. It provides additional examples as well as clarifying and helpful language about the parity law for healthcare professionals and consumers alike.

APA will be undertaking more detailed analysis of the rules in the coming days to carefully evaluate their implications for consumers and mental health professionals.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 134,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.