Demand Equitable Insurance Coverage for Addiction Treatment

    The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (Parity Act) requires most health plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment the same way they cover treatment for any other disease. Despite strong legal protections, millions of families still struggle to get insurance coverage for needed treatment and are unaware of their rights to affordable care due to weak enforcement and poor implementation of the law.

    Families often don’t speak up when they are denied care and are less likely to challenge denials of mental health or substance use disorders benefits than denials for medical care.


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    Why families need you to speak up

    Former Congressman (D-RI) and Founder of The Kennedy Forum, Patrick J. Kennedy, explains why it is important to advocate for the enforcement of the Parity Act to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against treatment for addiction care.

    Families face insurance denials in a time of crisis and face roadblocks at every turn while navigating a complex and burdensome process. Even with insurance coverage, families mortgage their homes or drain retirement or college savings accounts to pay for treatment.

    We need you to speak up now and take a stand against discriminatory insurance practices.

    Ask your members of Congress to support legislation to strengthen parity enforcement

    Currently, the Department of Labor (DOL) cannot adequately enforce the Parity Act for the millions of employees that receive health insurance through their employer. The Parity Enforcement Act would allow DOL to investigate and levy monetary penalties against health insurers and plan sponsors who violate parity. The House recently passed the Mental Health Matters Act, which includes a provision to provide this authority.

    The Parity Implementation Assistance Act would increase parity enforcement at the state level, providing grants to states to support their oversight of health insurance plans’ compliance with parity requirements. The House recently passed the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, which includes a provision to provide such grants.

    The Closing Health Coverage Gaps for Public Servants Act would close the loophole that currently allows self-funded, non-federal government health care plans, which cover firefighters, police, public school teachers, and city and state workers, to opt out of federal parity requirements. The House recently passed the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, which includes a provision to close this loophole.

    The Behavioral Health Coverage Transparency Act would require insurance plans to submit more information on treatment limitations and require the federal government to increase reviews. It would also establish a hotline and online Consumer Parity Portal and award grants to support offices of health insurance consumer assistance and health insurance ombudsman programs.

    Additional Parity Resources

    What is the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act?

    Under the Parity Act, insurance companies are required to provide coverage for substance use disorders, just as they would for any other disease.

    Learn more
    Parity Registry

    Find detailed appeals guidance and register complaints against health plans if you are denied coverage for mental health or addiction treatment services.

    Learn More
    Parity at 10

    Find resources for consumers, including tips on knowing Your Insurance Rights and recognizing Parity Warning Signs.

    Learn More

    Last Updated

    January 2023