Continuing forward momentum to improve health care to the masses, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced new guidelines to strengthen the 2008 mental health equity law.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires doctors and insurers to treat mental illness the same as physical illness–although it hasn’t been the case. The law, created to make mental health more accessible, has had no enforcement.

Insurance companies have often covered mental illness in a limited fashion than physical illness. For example, insurance companies can no longer authorize a 30-day hospital stay for a stroke and two-day stay in the hospital for someone who has had a psychotic break.

Another aspect of the new rulings protect those with pre-existing mental conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or depression, will no longer be denied insurance coverage. Greatly part of health care reform, diagnosis will no longer trigger a potential loss of coverage.

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Jeffrey R. Ungvary


Jeffrey R. Ungvary