The Employee Benefits Security Administration has posted 402 comments regarding implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.
Many commenters have asked EBSA to tell them what certain of the provisions of the MHPAEA mean and how exactly they will be implemented.
The American Benefits Council, Washington, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, continue to ask regulators to apply the condition classification provisions in the act as flexibly as possible.
The regulations implementing the act “should confirm that the classification of a mental health or substance use disorder is a matter of plan design as determined by the plan sponsor,” Kathryn Wilber of the ABC and Randel Johnson of the chamber write in a joint comment.
“Early versions of the act would have required that group health plans use the DSM-IV to define mental health and substance use disorders,” Wilber and Johnson write. “Congress, however, ultimately rejected that approach and provided that mental health and substance use disorder benefits are defined as benefits with respect to services for mental health or substance use disorder conditions (as applicable) as defined under the terms of the plan and in accordance with applicable federal and state law…. This reflects Congress’ clear intent that plan sponsors (and insurers) have the flexibility to classify disorders as either medical or mental health conditions in their plan documents, so long as there is scientific or medical support for the classification and the classifications are not designed to circumvent the parity requirements.”
The National Association of Manufacturers, Washington, has submitted a similar plea for flexibility when it comes to condition classification.