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DOL Continues Vigorous Enforcement of Mental Health Parity Law

The Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) released its annual enforcement report on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) for 2019. EBSA is an agency within the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). According to EBSA, vigorous enforcement of MHPAEA is one of its top enforcement priorities. MHPAEA is a federal law that prevents group health plans and health insurance issuers that provide mental health or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits from imposing less favorable benefit limitations on those benefits than medical and surgical benefits.

Since October 2010, EBSA has conducted approximately 2,000 investigations in which MHPAEA compliance was reviewed, and cited approximately 345 violations that involve MH/SUD benefits. These MHPAEA violations included impermissible annual and lifetime dollar limits, improper financial requirements, treatment limitations such as higher copayments or lower visit limits than for medical/surgical services, and impermissible nonquantitative treatment limitations (NQTLs), including overly restrictive fail-first policies, prior authorization
requirements and written treatment plan requirements.

Generally, if violations are found by an EBSA investigator, the health plan must remove any noncompliant plan provisions and pay any improperly denied benefits.

Read the Compliance Bulletin.

Contact your Cowden representative for more information on this or other compliance issues.