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.
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.
While Congress and the federal agencies have recently taken steps to increase parity reporting and enforcement, insurance plans continue to skirt compliance requirements and impose discriminatory coverage restrictions. Current enforcement efforts are limited because the Department of Labor (DOL) lacks the authority to monetarily penalize plans that violate parity.
Ask your members of Congress to cosponsor the Parity Enforcement Act, which would allow DOL to investigate and levy monetary penalties against health insurers and plan sponsors who violate parity.
We need you to speak up now and take a stand against discriminatory insurance practices.