Employers launch campaign against proposed mental health parity rule

A group representing large employers is launching a full-court press against proposed mental health parity standards, Politico reported April 22. 

The ERISA Industry Committee will launch a six-figure ad campaign on cable TV, streaming services and digital platforms, Politico reported. The campaign will argue the proposed rule will add more "red tape" to mental health services, the group told Politico. 

In July, the Biden Administration proposed tougher mental health parity standards, which would clarify that health plans cannot have more restrictive prior authorization standards or narrow networks for mental healthcare. It would also require plans to study the outcome of their mental health coverage policies, including network size, out-of-network payment policies and prior authorizations.  

Insurers have also argued the proposed rule will not improve access to mental healthcare. 

In a comment letter published in October, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said the proposed rule could lead to an increase in care that is not clinically recommended. The group said provider shortages are one of the biggest barriers to mental health access and recommended policies expanding access to telemental health and training more mental health workers. 

The ERISA Industry Committee is calling for expanded telehealth and integrating mental health into primary care, rather than the proposed rule change, Politico reported. 

"These proposed changes could have unintentional yet catastrophic impacts on the progress that has already been made," Melissa Bartlett, the committee's senior vice president of health policy, told Politico. 

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