National Trends on Mental Health and Addiction Parity
Most health plans are required by Illinois and federal law to cover mental health and
addiction treatment on par with other types of medical conditions. In other words,
health plans cannot place more stringent limitations on coverage for illnesses of the
brain. These requirements are broadly referred to as “parity” and are designed to reduce barriers
and improve access to care for people with mental health and addiction conditions.
Despite these requirements, however, evidence from around the country suggests many
patients have difficulty getting mental health and addiction treatment covered. For example, a
patient survey conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) found that patients
seeking coverage from private insurers for mental health services reported being denied
coverage at a rate double those seeking coverage for other medical services.
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