Does the Sunset of Mental Health Parity Really Matter?

Published in: Administration and Policy in Mental Health, v. 28, no. 5, May 2001, p. 353-369

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2000

by Daniel P. Gitterman, Roland Sturm, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, Richard M. Scheffler

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The 1996 Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA), which became effective in January 1998, is scheduled to expire in September 2001. This article provides an overview of what the MHPA intended to do and what it actually has accomplished. The authors summarize state legislature actions through the end of 2000 and report on their effects on employer-sponsored mental health coverage using a national survey fielded in 1999-2000. They then discuss possible amendments to the MHPA and reforms beyond full parity that might be considered.

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