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News Release

Release Date: April 28, 2009
Release Number: 09-458-NAT
Contact Name: Gloria Della
Phone Number: 202-693-8664

U.S. Labor Department seeks public comments on mental health and addiction law

Washington – The U.S. Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services today announced publication of a request for information (RFI) soliciting public comments in advance of developing rulemakings on group health plans. The RFI is published in today’s Federal Register.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) creates new rules for any financial requirement (e.g., cost-sharing) or treatment limitations (e.g., visit limits) on mental health and substance use disorder benefits so that they are no more restrictive than predominant requirements or limitations applied to substantially all medical and surgical benefits covered by a plan. MHPAEA also reauthorized several provisions relating to parity in annual and lifetime dollar limits for group health plan coverage enacted as part of the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996.

The RFI seeks public comments on such issues as the:

  • Types of financial requirements or treatment limits plans currently impose.

  • Terms in the statute that require additional clarification to facilitate compliance.

  • Current disclosure practices by plans regarding medical necessity determinations and denials of mental health benefits.

  • Current practices regarding out-of-network coverage for mental health benefits.

Written comments responding to the MHPAEA RFI may be addressed to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Health Plan Standards and Compliance Assistance, Employee Benefits Security Administration, N-5653, 200 Constitution Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, Attn: MHPAEA Comments. The public also may submit comments electronically by email to E-OHPSCA.EBSA@dol.gov or through the federal e-rulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov.

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Department's Newsroom page. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202.693.7828 or TTY 202.693.7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit the Department's Compliance Assistance page.