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News Release

Mental Health Parity Act Extended to December 31, 2005

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) today announced a technical amendment extending the interim final rules under the Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) to December 31, 2005.

President Bush signed the extension as part of the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 (P.L. 108-311, 118 Stat. 1166), extending the sunset date of MHPA to December 31, 2005.

The original MHPA contained a sunset provision requiring that provisions of the Act would not apply to benefits for services furnished on or after September 30, 2001. MHPA has been amended three times before to extend the sunset date.

MPHA requires that annual or lifetime dollar limits for mental heath benefits be no lower than the dollar limits for medical/surgical benefits offered by a group health plan. The Act applies to group health plans or health insurance coverage offered by issuers in connection with a group health plan that offers both mental health and medical/surgical benefits. However, it does not require plans to offer mental health benefits.

The technical amendment extending the sunset date is set to be published in the December 17, 2004 Federal Register. For more information about mental health benefits, contact EBSA at 1.866.444.EBSA (3272) or visit the Web site at to obtain a free copy of “Questions and Answers: Recent Changes in Health Care Law.”

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Internet. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the Central Office for Assistive Services and Technology. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call 202.693.7773 or TTY 202.693.7755.

Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.

Employee Benefits Security Administration
December 16, 2004
Release Number