Fact Sheet: The Mental Health Parity Act
NOTE: This fact sheet address the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to ensure that financial requirements (such as co-pays, deductibles) and treatment limitations (such as visit limits) applicable to mental health or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits are no more restrictive than the predominant requirements or limitations applied to substantially all medical/surgical benefits. For more information on MHPAEA, see the fact sheet.
U.S. Department of Labor
The Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA), signed into law on September 26, 1996, requires that annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health benefits be no lower than any such dollar limits for medical and surgical benefits offered by a group health plan or health insurance issuer offering coverage in connection with a group health plan.
MHPA applies to group health plans for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 1998. The original sunset provision (providing that the parity requirements would not apply to benefits for services furnished on or after September 30, 2001) has been extended several times. If you have questions about the sunset provision, contact the EBSA office nearest you.
The law, however, does not apply to benefits for substance abuse or chemical dependency.
The law also contains the following two exemptions: