Clock is Ticking for Mental Health Parity Regulations

By Kathy Kelso

The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act enacted in 2008 requires three federal departments to implement rules to ensure full compliance by health plans and access to services. These implementing rules must be issued before the effective dates for health plans: a) with coverage year beginning after October 3, 2009, and b) with coverage calendar years beginning January 1, 2010. With three federal agencies involved in a lengthy approval process, expeditious action is critical.

Senator Al Franken joined with Senators Edward Kennedy, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse in circulating a letter which was sent to the Secretaries of the departments calling upon them to issue regulations that set out the clear Congressional intent of the law.

Earlier this year, the agencies issued a request for information (RFI), but rules have yet to released. For more information, see this link to the Bazelon Center website:

Please join us in thanking Senator Franken for his leadership in this effort. You can send an email to Sen. Franken thanking him for his dedication to Senator Paul Wellstone’s legacy – mental health for all.