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Employee Benefits Security Administration

EBSA Federal Register Notice

Proposed Extension of Information Collection Request Submitted for Public Comment and Recommendations; Mental Health Parity [09/21/2007]

[PDF Version]

Volume 72, Number 183, Page 54072-54073

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Employee Benefits Security Administration

 
Proposed Extension of Information Collection Request Submitted 
for Public Comment and Recommendations; Mental Health Parity

AGENCY: Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Labor, as part of its continuing effort to 
reduce paperwork and respondent burden, conducts a preclearance 
consultation program to provide the general public and other federal 
agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed and continuing 
collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction 
Act of 1995 (PRA 95) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)). This program helps to 
ensure that requested data is provided in the desired format, reporting 
burden (time and financial resources) is minimized, collection 
instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection 
requirements on respondents can be properly assessed.
    By this notice, the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits 
Security Administration (EBSA) is soliciting comments on the extension 
of the information collection requests (ICRs) included in the Interim 
Rules for Mental Health Parity as published in the Federal Register on 
December 22, 1997 (62 FR 66931) (Interim Rules). OMB approved the two 
separate ICRs under OMB control numbers 1210-0105 and 1210-0106, which 
expire on January 31, 2008, and October 31, 2008, respectively. Copies 
of the ICRs may be obtained by contacting the office shown below in the 
addresses section of this notice.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted to the office listed in the 
addresses section on or before November 20, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties are invited to submit written comments 
regarding the ICRs to Mr. Joseph S. Piacentini, Office of Policy and 
Research, U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security 
Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room N-5647, Washington, 
DC 20210. Telephone: (202) 219-8410. Fax: (202) 219-4745 (these are not 
toll-free numbers).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    The purpose of this notice is to seek comments from the public 
prior to submission to OMB for continued approval of two information 
collection requests included in the Interim Final Rules. The Mental 
Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA) (Pub. L. 104-204) generally requires 
that group health plans provide parity in the application of dollar 
limits between mental health and medical/surgical benefits. The statute 
exempts plans from this requirement if its application results in an 
increase in the cost under the plan or coverage by at least one 
percent. The Interim Final Rules under 29 CFR 2590.712(f)(3)(i) and 
(ii) require a group health plan electing to take advantage of this 
exemption to provide a written notice to participants and beneficiaries 
and to the federal government of the plan's election. This notice 
requirement is approved under OMB control number 1210-0105. To satisfy 
the requirement to notify the federal government, a group health plan 
may either send the Department a copy of the summary of material 
reductions in covered services or benefits sent to participants and 
beneficiaries, or the plan may use the Department's model notice 
published in the Interim Final Rule which was developed for this 
purpose.
    The second ICR, approved under OMB control number 1210-0106, is a 
summary of the information used to calculate the plan's increased costs 
under the MHPA for purposes of electing the one percent increased cost 
exemption. The plan is required to make a copy of the summary available 
to participants and beneficiaries, on request at no charge. Under 29 
CFR 2590.712(f)(2), a group health plan wishing to elect the one 
percent exemption must calculate their increased costs according to 
certain rules.

II. Desired Focus of Comments

    The Department of Labor is particularly interested in comments 
that:
     Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, 
including whether the information will have practical utility;
     Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the 
burden of the proposed collection of information, including the 
validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
     Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and

[[Page 54073]]

     Minimize the burden of the collection of information on 
those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate 
automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting 
electronic submissions of responses.

III. Current Actions

    The Department intends to request an extension of the ICRs 
currently approved under control numbers 1210-0105 and 1210-0106 
without change to the existing information collection provisions. 
Although MHPA requirements will not apply to benefits for services 
furnished on or after December 31, 2007, in accordance with the sunset 
provision of section 712(f) of ERISA, in order to ensure that 
participants and beneficiaries are aware of their rights under group 
health plans, the Department intends to maintain the clearance of the 
notice and disclosure provisions of MHPA through December 31, 2007 and 
until such time as the sunset provision has taken effect without 
additional Congressional action that would have the effect of extending 
the duration of MHPA's applicability.
    Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection.
    Agency: U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security 
Administration.
    Title: Notice to Participants and Beneficiaries and the Federal 
Government of Electing One Percent Increased Cost Exemption.
    OMB Number: 1210-0105.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households; Business or other for-
profit; Not-for-profit institutions.
    Frequency: On occasion.
    Respondents: 10.
    Responses: 10,000.
    Estimated burden hours (Operating and Maintenance): 333.
    Estimated burden costs: $5,000.
    Title: Calculation and Disclosure of Documentation of Eligibility 
for Exemption.
    OMB Number: 1210-0106.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households; Business or other for-
profit; Not-for-profit institutions.
    Frequency: On occasion.
    Respondents: 10.
    Responses: 200.
    Estimated burden hours (Operating and Maintenance): 10.
    Estimated burden costs: $100.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized 
and/or included in the request for OMB approval of the ICRs; they will 
also become a matter of public record.

    Dated: September 13, 2007.
Joseph S. Piacentini,
Director, Office of Policy and Research, Employee Benefits Security 
Administration.
[FR Doc. E7-18514 Filed 9-20-07; 8:45 am]

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