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Wit v. United Behavioral Health

Parity in behavioral health received a blow on January 26th when a three-judge panel released a ruling rejecting the plaintiffs’ appeal in Wit v. United Behavioral Health remanding the case to the district court.

“This decision is heartbreaking,” Marvin Ventrell, CEO of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), told Behavioral Health Business. “Access to care is already a crisis in America, largely because insurers fail to cover the disease on par with other diseases, frequently in violation of federal parity law.”

The class-action lawsuit — originally filed in May 2014 by David Wit, Natasha Wit and Brian Muir — alleged that United Behavioral Health improperly ignored generally accepted medical standards when it developed its rules for determining the medical necessity of behavioral health services. The case amassed 67,000 claims for about 50,000 enrollees that plaintiffs allege were mishandled.

Behavioral health industry advocates said the January ruling worsens the industry’s access challenge. A nagging shortage of providers in the industry is worsened by significant sections of the sector opting to not accept insurance plan participation because the rates are too low or not worth the administrative burden.

In May 2022, Marvin Ventrell wrote an article NAATP Joins National Collaboration Wit Case Parity Appeal highlighting NAATP’s role and reiterating current beliefs and obligations.

Look for updates on the Wit case and further public policy developments in our upcoming editions of the NAATP Public Policy Update.