NEW: The Parity Implementation Coalition is holding a series of parity hearings across the country. Constituents in the community are meeting to report on parity implementation and execution. Consumer, provider, and business witnesses will shine a light on the issues still facing people trying to get care. Learn how to get involved.
The Parity Toolkit is designed to give an overview of federal mental health insurance parity legislation, in particular the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008, and then provide context and resources for continued advocacy for mental health parity in insurance coverage.
Sections 1 and 2 put the MHPAEA into context. The Mental Health America national policy position and call to action provide the policy framework in which to see the need for continued vigorous support for mental health parity as a civil rights issue. Section 2 also provides the political history of federal parity legislation including MHPAEA.
In Section 3, there is an overview of the overview of the MHPAEA and the gaps that still remain in federal parity regulation overall.
Prior to federal parity passing in 2008, many states had enacted some form of state regulation to promote parity in health plans regulated by the states. Section 4 gives a summary of state parity regulation and links to state insurance departments.
Because there are still gaps in federal parity regulation, and most states have not completely filled the gaps, Section 5 gives state level advocacy strategies to assure effective implementation of federal parity regulations and, perhaps more importantly, strategies to continue to advocate for parity at the state level.
The conclusion gives some thoughts for further advocacy work to be done on mental health services generally.
The annotated bibliography of this toolkit is a gold mine of information for advocates to refer to in making the case in their states for expansion of parity.
The toolkit also contains some useful examples from Colorado and Texas.
Advocacy efforts in Colorado were successful in passing comprehensive parity legislation in 2007. The 2007 model legislation is included in the appendices as well as a brochure, fact sheets, sample op-ed, and sample talking points.
Advocates in Texas have worked for many years to strengthen parity. Several bills were introduced in 2007 and some related materials can be found in the appendix.
- Issue Brief: Parity
- Annotated Bibliography
- Fact Sheet: Federal Legislation
- Individual State Case Studies: Colorado and Texas
- Additional Resources
Mental Health America hosted a webinar on the Mental Health Parity and Addition Equity Act (MHPAEA), featuring Amanda Callahan and Moe Keller of the MHA of Colorado. The webinar focuses on the implementation of MHPAEA in states, and describes ways of using MHA's parity resources for effective advocacy. You may click here to access the recording: Parity. When you click on this link, you will be asked to register some basic information, after which you'll receive an automatically generated email with instructions for accessing the presentation. That email will come from the account of Sarah Steverman and may take up to 10 minutes to appear in your inbox.
You can download the powerpoint here.
Additional resources on parity are available here.