WASHINGTON, September 17 – Rep. Donald W. Norcross, D-New Jersey, issued the following press release:
Last week, we Congressman Donald norcross (NJ-01), member of the House Committee on Education and Work, obtained a key provision on parity in mental health in the markup of the Build Back Better Act committee. The provision strengthens the 2008 legislation drafted bywe Representing Patrick j kennedy which required that health insurance plans cover mental illnesses as they cover physical illnesses. The mental health parity provision drafted by Member of Congress Norcross extend it US Department of Labor the power to hold health insurers and plan sponsors accountable for breach of this mandate.
âThis bill empowers the Ministry of Labour to investigate and impose fines on insurers offering federally regulated health plans if they violate the Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act, âsaid Member of Congress Norcross. âOur country has seen an increase in mental health crises due to stress, anxiety and isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our minds are what make us uniquely human, and it is frankly ridiculous that some insurers refuse to provide the same level of care for mental and behavioral problems as they would for a broken arm or an outstretched wrist. “
“Activate the US Department of Labor Assessing fines for violations of the federal parity law is essential to ensuring equal insurance coverage of vital mental health and drug addiction treatments for Americans, âsaid the former we representing Patrick j kennedy, founder of The Kennedy Forum. “I applaud Norcross Congressman and President Scott for including the Parity Enforcement Act in the language of the Build Back Better Act committee. “
Norcross added: âI congratulate President Scott for his leadership on the Build Back Better Act and my colleagues who voted to include this essential language in the final markup. The language of mental health parity in the Build Back Better Act will ensure that families receive the life-saving assistance to which they are entitled under the law.
Health insurers are required by law to provide the same level of coverage for mental health and substance use disorders as for physical health. But the reality is that many insurers bypass this requirement, and the Ministry of Labour has no upstream enforcement mechanism to hold bad actors accountable.
The provision drafted by Member of Congress Norcross was originally introduced in the House as the Parity Enforcement Act of 2021 (HR1364). Inclusion of the provision in the basic text of the Build Back Better law will help ensure that individuals receive the mental health care they deserve and to which they are entitled under the law.
In 2008, Congress have begun to demand parity in mental health – which means, by law, that insurance plans must offer the same level of coverage for mental health and addiction disorders that they provide for mental health and addiction issues. physical health. The problem is that the law cannot be adequately enforced for the millions of employees who receive health insurance through their employer.
Currently the Ministry of Labour (DOL) is only able to require employers to reimburse their workers if there is a violation of parity in their self-funded insurance schemes. However, DOL cannot take action against the insurance company offering the insurance plan. This leaves the DOL without a front-end enforcement mechanism to ensure that existing mental health and substance use parity requirements are met.