Advocacy Alert: BHAP Supports Mental Health Parity Enforcement

March 11, 2022

In 2008, the Mental Health Parity & Addiction Equity Act was signed into law. Fourteen years later, the 2022 MHPAEA Report to Congress: "Realizing Parity, Reducing Stigma, and Raising Awareness: Increasing Access to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Coverage," confirmed what many of us suspected: The law has been poorly enforced, and we must approach the future with better methodologies if we are serious about improving access to behavioral health care.

Those suffering from substance use disorder experience numerous efforts by health plans to deny behavioral health services. If we are ever to truly "mainstream" these critical services, the first step is to force compliance with MHPAEA, and have consumers realize that these health challenges will be treated no differently than general medical and surgical services. This is a critical step in removing the stigma that surrounds behavioral health.

Only Congress can address the ongoing issues facing patients with respect to the enforcement of MHPAEA regulations. State regulatory enforcement agencies need to be supported with additional funding to improve and expand their enforcement efforts against insurers that violate MHPAEA. The best way to improve enforcement of MHPAEA is to expand the regulatory authority of the Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, the Treasury Department and state regulatory agencies.

Forged from a passion for behavioral healthcare service providers unable to absorb the high costs related to legal consultation, BHAP was founded in March 2016 to help small and mid-market healthcare providers access compliance resources and legal education to help their agencies thrive. As such, we encourage you to reach out to your representative regarding this issue.

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