The Biden administration this week proposed a rule that would require health insurers to offer patients better access to mental health care and addiction treatment, STAT reports.
The proposed rule would require health insurance companies to evaluate their own networks to measure whether they are offering adequate mental health and addiction coverage, as well as whether patients are accessing it.
CNBC reports the proposal requires health insurance companies to add therapists and other services if an evaluation finds they are not complying with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. This measure, passed in 2008, requires insurance plans that cover mental health care and substance use disorder treatment to offer the same level of coverage for these services as they do for other health care.
Insurance plans often do not provide an adequate number of therapists in network, CNBC notes. This forces patients to seek care out of network, and pay more for their care.
According to a White House fact sheet, the proposed rule would require health plans to make changes when they are providing inadequate access to mental health care; make it clear what health plans can and cannot do; and close existing loopholes.