by Laura McDermott
Compliance with new federal parity laws may increase America’s corporate insurance costs by as much as 40% over 2009 claims expenditures. The Federal Mental Health Parity (MHP) and Addiction Equity Act of 2008–which was included in the Recovery Act–attempts to place mental health benefits on equal footing with medical benefits. While the specific rules of the law have not been written, treatment limits, co-pays, number of visits, and other financial requirements for all medical and surgical health plans are expected to be on par with mental health benefits.
“Preparation for Federal Mental Health Parity Regulations is the key to cost control,” says Dr. Ann Clark, CEO of ACI Specialty Benefits. &”Since an additional 118 million people will now have access to mental health benefits, parity is expected to increase mental health utilization by employees and family members as much as over 40% from the previous year.”
But even with all these cost increase predictions, most corporations are sitting around waiting for advice from their benefits consultants and brokers, or if they’ve asked for advice, they haven’t received any solid information.
So what do companies plan to do to prepare for parity?
— 40 % plan to increase EAP utilization and promotion
— 35% plan to increase the promotion and use of wellness programs.
These are just a couple of the many interesting parity stats reported by Partnership for Workplace Mental Health.