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By Alicia Adamczyk
October 10, 2016

On World Mental Health Day, it’s important to remember that if you need mental health services but worry they cost too much — they very well could be covered under your insurance plan.

The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), signed into law in 2008, ensures that certain types of insurance plans, including most employer plans and those purchased through state and federal marketplaces, must treat substance abuse and mental health issues equally with traditional physical issues.

“When a plan has parity, it means that if you are provided unlimited doctor visits for a chronic condition like diabetes then they must offer unlimited visits for a mental health condition such as depression or schizophrenia,” according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Employers aren’t required to provide mental health coverage, according to the Atlantic, “but those that do can’t charge patients more for mental health care — higher co-payments, co-insurance, or deductibles — than for general medical services.” They also can’t limit treatments.

Benefits that must be covered by parity include emergency care, prescription drugs, co-pays, deductibles, maximum out-of-pocket limits, and more. If you aren’t sure if your plan covers mental health services, contact your HR representative.

The American Psychological Association has a useful Q+A on parity basics. For more information or to report a problem, check out this website.

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