Study Finds Insurers Fail to Ensure Parity in Mental Health Care 

By Consumers for Quality Care, on May 8, 2024

Study Finds Insurers Fail to Ensure Parity in Mental Health Care 

A study commissioned by the Mental Health Treatment and Research Institute found that insurers are not covering mental health services in the same way they do physical health care, Bloomberg Law reports.  

The study found that consumers were 3.5 times more likely to go out of network to seek mental health care than they would for physical care. The study also found that behavioral clinicians’ reimbursements from insurance companies were 22 percent lower as compared to their medical and surgical clinicians’ counterparts.  

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), enacted in 2008, requires insurers to cover mental health treatments and care just as they would cover anything else, meaning that consumers cannot experience higher copays or face additional prior authorizations for mental health care.  

Last August, the Biden administration proposed new rules to ensure parity in mental health care, arguing that insurers oftentimes fail to have enough in-network mental health providers. These failures force consumers to seek an out-of-network mental health doctor, which in turn forces them to pay an out-of-network rate.  

“This research demonstrates the profound need for employers and purchasers to demand more of their health insurance carriers to ensure they are providing truly equitable access to behavioral health care in compliance with parity requirements,” said Shawn Gremminger, President and CEO of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions. 

CQC urges lawmakers and regulators to take action to ensure all patients can access the mental health care they need and deserve.