Mental Health Parity Law Extension

As part of the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 (H.R. 6111), which President Bush signed on December 20, Congress extended for another calendar year (2007) the current mental health parity law. This law generally requires group health plans, including FEHB plans, which offer mental health benefits, to place the same annual and lifetime coverage dollar limits on mental health coverage as they do for other medical services. Since 2001, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has required broader mental health parity for FEHB plan coverage provided that the member uses network doctors and facilities and cooperates with the plan’s medical management requirements. The Washington Post reports that the 110th Congress which takes office next week may enact a more expansive mental health parity law.