Employers sponsoring group health plans have been living with mental health parity requirements for more than 20 years.
The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 required that a lifetime maximum benefit or an annual benefit limit for mental health services could not be less than those for medical/surgical benefits. However, it was permissible at that time to limit the number of covered inpatient days for mental health treatment, or limit the number of outpatient mental health visits.
The MHPA did not address substance abuse — either alcohol or drugs — at all. Read More.