Last Monday May 3 was the deadline for submission of public comments on one of the most flawed federal regulations ever issued, the interim final rule implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 “MHPAEA”). This law became applicable to the FEHB Program on January 1, 2010, and OPM did a good job implementing it with its 2010 call letter guidance. The agencies that produced this rule threw a monkey wrench into the works with a rule that does not produce parity and goes far beyond the the terms of the statute. For more details, I direct your attention to the comments of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, United Health Group, and the National Association of Health Underwriters.
I have mentioned that a group of managed behavioral health organizations called the Coalition for Parity has filed a lawsuit alleging that the government violated the Administrative Procedure Act by issuing the MHPAEA rule in final form rather than following the normal path of issuing a proposed rule for comment. On May 3, the Government filed its brief in opposition to the Coalition’s summary judgment motion, and on May 7, the Coalition filed its reply brief. The case is now teed up for U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar Kotelly who may decide to hear oral argument before issuing a ruling.