A group representing psychiatrists in New York state and two individuals are bringing a nationwide class-action suit against Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group for violating laws requiring parity in mental health coverage.
"The complaint filed in New York federal court accuses the giant health insurer of limiting, delaying and denying mental health treatment," reports MPR News' Elizabeth Stawicki. "UnitedHealth says it is reviewing the suit and that the company is committed to helping people with mental health issues reach a long-term recovery."
The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, passed in 2008, requires group health plans with mental health and substance abuse coverage to provide benefits equal to those for other chronic health conditions.
This legislation was considered a major achievement for mental health advocates, yet implementation has been spotty.
"Implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 has been hobbled by a lack of clear guidance from the government, and final rules governing the statute have yet to be published," reports Judith Graham in The Atlantic. "The result is significant confusion over insurance companies' and employers' responsibilities under the law, which currently applies to 140 million Americans who receive health insurance from organizations with more than 50 employees."
LEARN MORE ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH PARITY
• Since 2008, Insurers Have Been Required by Law to Cover Mental Health — Why Many Still Don't. In The Atlantic, Judith Graham looks at the hurdles that are keeping the bill from being fully implemented.
• HHS releases rule on insurers' essential health benefits. USA Today gives an overview of the new rule governing what must be covered in health exchange plans. Mental health benefits are a part of the new rule.
• Compliance With the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Report to Congress from the U.S. Department of Labor about compliance with the legislation.
• Kennedy Calling For Equal Coverage Of Mental Health — Yes, Still. WBUR looks at Rep. Patrick Kennedy's efforts to strengthen mental health parity.
• United Behavioral Health Sued For Denying Needed Care. A class-action suit was filed last year in California against California United Behavioral Health (UBH), United Healthcare Insurance Company and US Behavioral Plan.