Today, HHS Departments of Labor and Treasury, released its report to Congress regarding insurance company compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. The report details, as NAATP treatment providers know all too well, huge deficiencies and gaps in insurer compliance with the law.
The parity report released today makes clear that none of the major insurance carriers are in full compliance with the law. “This country is in the throes of the worst addiction crisis we have ever faced. Millions suffer from the effects of addiction and the vast majority of sufferers do not get the health care they need. As we watch 300 people die from overdoses every day, we have the opportunity to turn this tide if only we will act to do what is right and enforce the law. NAATP applauds the Administration for making parity a priority and we implore Congress to take stock of the report and act” said NAATP CEO Marvin Ventrell.
The report includes recommendations necessary for better enforcement. Among these is the ability for the Department of Labor to fine insurance companies who fail to meet the requirements. Such authority must be authorized by Congress, and it is included in the Build Back Better legislation as passed by the US House of Representatives. NAATP has strongly advocated for this provision to be included in Build Back Better or any future legislative vehicle.
While NAATP understands that the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act will not solve all access to care issues, it is a historically significant law which, when fully implemented, will allow literally millions of Americans to access the lifesaving care that they desperately need. Providing the Department of Labor with the authority to fine companies for noncompliance with the existing law will fulfill the intent of the law. Enforcement of parity through this fining authority is fair and just and is an ideal legislative mechanism toward access for all.
We encourage everyone to contact their U.S. Senators and stress the importance of Parity enforcement and the ability of the Department of Labor to fine companies who fail to comply. Find your Senators’ contact information at: U.S. Senate.
NAATP will continue to advocate for increased access to care through enforcement of the Parity Act along with our partner organizations. Your voice is a critical component of that effort. Additional news on the parity report here: Marketplace Morning Report.