The Obama administration weighed in last week on insurance coverage for mental illness and substance abuse treatment. As of July 2010, some new rules will apply, including these:

  • Health plans offered at companies with more than 50 employees who already offer mental health benefits must have the same rules for mental health benefits as other benefits. No separate annual deductibles for mental health treatment, and copayments should be the same amount for visiting a psychiatrist or other mental healthcare provider as they are for going your primary care physician.
  • Health plans cannot set limits on the number of visits or hospital days for mental health treatment.

For the APA's reaction, click here.

John Grohol at Psych Central makes some important clarifications about what these new federal rules DO NOT cover:

  • Employers with less than 50 employees (so that’s virtually all small businesses right there)
  • Employers who do not currently offer any mental health or substance abuse benefits
  • Individual insurance plans (the law only applies to group insurance plans offered by an employer)