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Few states enforce parity laws in practice

October 13, 2015
by Julie Miller, Editor in Chief
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A recent bill passed in Illinois requires that the state's department of insurance enforce federal and state parity laws. In New York, investigations of consumer complaints by the state Attorney General has led to five settlements with insurers for violating the laws. And that’s about it for good news, according to new parity report by the Kennedy Forum and the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation.

"We have difficult work ahead to make parity a reality,” said Patrick J. Kennedy, Former U.S. Representative and founder of the Kennedy Forum, in a statement. “The Parity Reports will be a powerful tool to hold legislators and regulators accountable and to spread the most promising parity practices across the country."

Data from all 50 states reveals details about the implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, and according to the authors, only five states have taken disciplinary action against insurers that have violated the policy. States are categorized as:

  • Promising (10 states);
  • Need Work (11 states); and
  • Neutral (most states).

The analysis evaluates federal and state legislation, regulatory actions, litigation and other legal actions that have affected how behavioral healthcare is delivered.

"By completing the Parity Reports, we now understand what is working to implement parity as well as what gaps still need to be filled," said Joe Pyle, President of the Scattergood Foundation, in a statement.

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Access the map here.