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How the Affordable Care Act and Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act Greatly Expand Coverage of Behavioral Health Care

  • Kirsten Beronio
  • Sherry Glied
  • Richard Frank
Article

Abstract

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will expand coverage of mental health and substance use disorder benefits and federal parity protections to over 60 million Americans. The key to this expansion is the essential health benefit provision in the ACA that requires coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services at parity with general medical benefits. Other ACA provisions that should improve access to treatment include requirements on network adequacy, dependent coverage up to age 26, preventive services, and prohibitions on annual and lifetime limits and preexisting exclusions. The ACA offers states flexibility in expanding Medicaid (primarily to childless adults, not generally eligible previously) to cover supportive services needed by those with significant behavioral health conditions in addition to basic benefits at parity. Through these various new requirements, the ACA in conjunction with Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) will expand coverage of behavioral health care by historic proportions.

Keywords

Behavioral Health Serious Mental Illness Federal Poverty Level Behavioral Health Care Medicaid Expansion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Conflict of Interest

The authors are not aware of any existing or potential conflicts of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC (outside the USA) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disabilities Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and EvaluationUS Department of Health and Human ServicesWashington, DCUSA
  2. 2.Wagner School of Public ServiceNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Care PolicyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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