Administration issues new mental health coverage rules.

The New York Times (1/30, A14, Pear) reported the Obama Administration “issued new rules…that promise to improve insurance coverage of mental healthcare for more than 140 million people insured through their jobs.” Under the rules that go into effect July 1, “employers and group health plans cannot provide less coverage for mental healthcare than for the treatment of physical conditions like cancer and heart disease.”

The AP (1/30) reported that the new rules prohibit “separate annual deductibles for mental health treatment” and higher “copayments for visiting a psychiatrist or social worker.” The measure “also prohibits health plans from setting limits on number of visits or hospital days for mental health problems that are different from any such limitations on treatment for medical problems.”

Modern Healthcare (1/29, Zigmond) reported, “The rule applies to group plans of 50 or more people and divides benefits into the following six categories: inpatient, in-network; inpatient, out-of-network; outpatient, in-network; outpatient, out-of-network; emergency care; and prescription drugs.” CQ HealthBeat (1/30, Norman) also covered the story.

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