Mental health parity
Introduction (Psychology and Mental Health)
In 2008, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was approved as part of the U.S. legislation known as Public Law 110-343, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. Also known as the Mental Health Parity Act, this legislation prohibited health insurers from restricting mental health care and addiction treatment and required such to be equal to what is offered for physical health care. The intention was to establish functional equality for treatment for these different types of problems.
In this law, mental health care referred to services for mental health conditions, while addiction treatment referred to services for substance-use disorders, conditions known as substance abuse and substance dependence. Thus, insurers could not charge higher co-pays or deductibles and could not impose lower-frequency-of-treatment and number-of-visits or days-of-coverage limits on mental health and addiction benefits in comparison to other medical services. In addition, if the health plan provided coverage for medical or surgical services through providers not normally associated with the health plan—a policy known as out-of-network costs—it also had to do so for mental health and addiction. Finally, in accordance with this law, insurers could not require federal update coinsurance or set higher out-of-pocket limits for these services than for other medical or surgical expenses within the...
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Quality Health Care Equals Integrated Health Care (Psychology and Mental Health)
True health is a combination of physical and mental well-being and a freedom from addictions. Numerous sources related to psychophysiology and the interactions among health, stress, and psychological processes point to the importance of integrative health care. Further, epidemiology from around the world demonstrates that comorbidity, the condition in which a person has multiple disorders, frequently includes mixes of physical, mental, and addiction-related problems. When considering that stress also affects health and may exacerbate other conditions, the interdependence of successful treatment of and attention to all these factors is underscored. As such, common sense dictates that good health care should allow for integration of and consistent attention to each of these aspects of health in the provision of treatment. Arbitrarily setting financial limits or other barriers could detract from the overall effectiveness and quality of care. Thus, from a mental health perspective, mental health parity laws became a logical outcome of the literature on and history of mind-body interactions.
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Sources for Further Study (Psychology and Mental Health)
Hugdahl, Kenneth. Psychophysiology: The Mind-Body Perspective. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001. This easy-to-read text provides basic information on how the mind and body interact and are studied in mental health research.
Lovallo, William R. Stress and Health: Biological and Psychological Interactions. 2d ed. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2004. Provides background information on how stress affects health and how examination of the interaction of biology and psychology can be used to combat stress-related health problems.
Mueser, Kim T., Douglas L. Noordsy, Robert E. Drake, and Lindy Fox. Integrated Treatment for Dual Disorders: A Guide for Effective Practice. New York: Guilford Press, 2003. Describes recommended treatment approaches for working with individuals who have problems with substances and other mental health disorders.
Sapolsky, Robert M. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. 3d ed. New York: Holt, 2004. This humorous and insightful book is easily accessible for most readers to learn about stress-related disorders and the value of psychology in relation to health.
World Health Organization. Integrating Mental Health Care into Primary Care: A Global Perspective. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2008. An authoritative commentary on the value of integrated care and the societal risks of failing to provide integrated...
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