New law calls for mental health coverage from employer plans

McAfee & Taft trial lawyer Curtis Thomas was featured in The Oklahoman discussing a new federal law that aims to eliminate discriminatory mental health coverage in employer-sponsored group health plans. The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 is set to take effect January 1st.

“The act will apply to most employers with more than 50 employees and affect plan years beginning after Oct. 3, 2009,” Thomas told The Oklahoman.

“The act does not require employer-sponsored group health plans to provide mental health or substance use disorder benefits, but for those employers who do provide such benefits, the act requires them to make sure that all financial requirements for mental health or substance use disorder benefits under their plans are equal to or better than the financial requirements for medical and surgical benefits offered under the plan (e.g. co-payments, deductibles, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket expenses). For example, if an employee’s co-payment for medical benefits is $30, his or her co-payment for mental benefits must also be $30 or less.”