State laws mandating or regulating mental health benefits

There is also evidence that mental health benefits legislation is associated with increased access to care, increased diagnosis of mental health conditions, reduced prevalence of poor mental health and reduced suicide rates.

Evidence from a concurrent economic review indicates that mental health benefits expansion did not lead to any substantial increase in cost to health insurance plans, measured as a percentage of premiums.

They may apply to all individual and group plans regulated by the state, or they may be more limited.

Mental health benefits legislation (MHBL) involves changing regulations for MH insurance coverage to improve financial protection (i.e., decrease financial burden) and to increase access to, and use of, MH services including substance abuse (SA) services.

Below is the national Mental Health America Policy Position and Call to action regarding mental health parity in health insurance.1 This position paper sets the context for policy work on parity.

The key issues are: The Metal Health America Policy Position and Call to Action was adopted in September 2006, before the passage of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act in 2008.

However, the MHPAEA retained exemptions for employers with ≤50 employees or demonstrating a 2% cost increase annually as a result of the legislation.

Thus, the legislation had little impact, although it served as a catalyst for subsequent MHBL, particularly at the state level.

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