Monday, August 25, 2008

A bit more on Mental Health Parity

So, in conversations with folks at Health Care for All, I have obtained a deeper understanding of the Parity issue.  Two additional comments to my posting:

1)  Children in general are not affected much by this legislation.  Turns out that the section of the bill allowing "children with non-biologically based diagnoses" to get parity with additional documentation means that kids have always gotten more.  The issue for kids revolves around different issues (what is "medical necessity"?  How many different levels of care are needed in mental health services in order to achieve "parity"?)  The Commissioner of Insurance is in charge of those decisions, and the insurance industry has sought for years to keep that all very limited.
2)  Parity doesn't always mean high quality.  If your insurance has high deductables and limited panels of specialist,  it will likely be the same for mental health.

The one place where parity will be of great utility is in late adolescents/ young adults who are transitioning out  of the pediatric age group.  Many of them loose services as they grow up-  now, we can hold insurances to the task.

Still a victory.  But, as one of my HLA colleagues says, there is only so much that you can do with legislation.  

Coming soon:  What does the An Act Relative to Children's Mental Health mean for us?

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