For Immediate Release
Washington, DC – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) today filed comments with the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury on mental health parity compliance.
ERIC’s comments were in response to new Frequently Asked Questions, disclosure forms, a self-compliance tool, fact sheet, and a report to Congress related to requirements under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) and the 21st Century Cures Act.
The comments focused on the time needed for plan sponsors to prepare for and come into compliance with new requirements, more stakeholder input on the processes, definitions, and interpretations by the agencies, and flexibility by the agencies in enforcing the MHPAEA rules.
“When it comes to mental health parity rules, especially to complicated regulatory regimes related to things like non-quantitative treatment limitations, more clarity for plan sponsors is always a step in the right direction,” said James Gelfand, senior vice president of health policy, ERIC. “ERIC members are proud to offer comprehensive medical benefits as well as mental health benefits that are in full compliance with mental health parity rules. As the agencies move forward with new reporting and disclosure regimes, we hope they will continue to take input from stakeholders, and to provide the flexibility needed to ensure plan sponsors can maximize benefits for our plan enrollees, rather than waste resources on unnecessary red tape and litigation.”
ERIC’s suggested improvements, include:
- Delaying the applicability date of the new requirements in the MHPAEA Guidance Documents until plan years beginning on or after a specified future date, at a minimum July 1, 2019
- Formally adopting new requirements through the standard regulatory process in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act, with opportunity for public comment and in conformance with all applicable Executive Orders
- Focusing enforcement efforts on abusers and providing simplified compliance approaches for the great majority of group health plan sponsors and health insurance issuers for whom compliance is an accepted best practice
- Issuing non-enforcement guidance for MHPAEA violations based on a good-faith compliance standard.
To read ERIC’s comments in their entirety, click here.