Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2002375
 
 

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Reforming State Mental Health Parity Law


Stacey A. Tovino


University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law


Houston Journal of Health Law and Policy, Vol. 11, p. 455, 2011
UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series

Abstract:     
This Article is the final installment in a three-part project that presents a comprehensive challenge to lingering legal distinctions between physical and mental illness in the context of health insurance. The first installment in this series narrowly inquired as to whether the postpartum mood disorders should be classified as physical or mental illnesses in a range of health law contexts, including the context of health insurance. The second installment was broader in scope and challenged a number of federal provisions that allow publicly- and privately-funded health care programs and plans to provide mental health insurance benefits that are less comprehensive than their physical counterparts. The second installment also proposed comprehensive federal reforms, including the extension of federal mental health parity law to individuals who do not currently benefit from mental health parity law. This third and final Article undertakes an important correction of state mental health parity law. The first section of this Article examines in detail the mental health parity laws of four states: Idaho, Maryland, Nevada, and Vermont. I categorize these states’ divergent mental health parity laws by their breadth and depth of application, whether they mandate the option or inclusion of mental health and substance use disorder benefits, and the extent to which parity between physical and mental health benefits is required in all rates, terms, and conditions. The second section of this Article justifies and proposes amendments that would not only conform these and other state laws to minimum federal requirements, but would also expand state mental health parity law to all health plans subject to state insurance regulation, require inclusion of mental health and substance use disorder benefits in such plans, and eliminate artificial “biologically-based” and “severe mental illness” distinctions. The third section of this Article offers a uniform mental health parity law for consideration by state legislatures.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 51

Keywords: mental health parity law, mental illness, substance use disorder, health insurance

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Date posted: February 13, 2012 ; Last revised: September 20, 2012

Suggested Citation

Tovino, Stacey A., Reforming State Mental Health Parity Law. Houston Journal of Health Law and Policy, Vol. 11, p. 455, 2011; UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper Series. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2002375

Contact Information

Stacey Ann Tovino (Contact Author)
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )
4505 South Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States
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