"MHPAEA preserves the MHPA protections and adds significant new protections, such as extending the parity requirements to substance use disorders. Although the law requires a general equivalence in the way MH/SUD and medical/surgical benefits are treated with respect to annual and lifetime dollar limits, financial requirements and treatment limitations, MHPAEA does NOT require large group health plans or health insurance issuers to cover MH/SUD benefits. The law's requirements apply only to large group health plans and health insurance issuers that choose to include MH/SUD benefits in their benefit packages. However, the Affordable Care Act builds on MHPAEA and requires coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services as one of ten EHB categories in non-grandfathered individual and small group plans."
Definition retrieved from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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