Friday, December 4, 2009

Parity Law Part Two

Yes, another week has gone by and the Irreverent Psychologist is still thinking about mental health parity laws. I'm still contacting insurance companies here in Massachusetts trying to get an articulation how the law is going to be implemented.

To read the actual law, go here.

A recent study reviewed the successes and failures of the California parity law during the 2000 to 2005 time period. Among the findings:

  • Costs of parity were in line or below the projections.
  • Most health plans lifted limits on the annual number of days allowed for both inpatient treatments and the number of visits allowed for outpatient treatment.
  • Concerns were raised that insurance companies might use the medical necessity clauses to control costs in an arbitrary way.
  • Consumers had difficulty finding therapists from individuals who were contracted with the specific insurance company.
  • Doctors expressed concern that treatment would no longer be paid for if a patient improved an no longer met the criteria for a particular diagnosis: even if stopping therapy would was not in the best interest of the patient. 
To read more about this study go to the LA Times blog or the abstract of the article.

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