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Tragically, many insurance companies discriminate against mental health care patients, violating the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) and leaving countless Americans to suffer without proper treatment. The MHPAEA was designed to forbid this type of discrimination, prohibiting group health plans from imposing financial requirements and treatment limitations on mental health and substance use disorder benefits that are not equivalent to requirements or limitations imposed on medical/surgical benefits.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) President, Dilip Jeste, M.D. explained that “APA worked hard to ensure passage of MHPAEA so that mental health patients would not be deprived of treatment or stigmatized for seeking it. Anthem, Wellpoint companies and others throughout the U.S. need to start respecting the law and our members’ patients and not directly or indirectly inhibit access to the treatment for which the patients and their employers have paid.”

A multitude of parity violations (within Anthem Health Plans, Inc., its parent company Wellpoint, Inc., and numerous other health insurers) has led to insufficient access to treatment and has imposed unfair financial constraints on those seeking mental health services. As a result, the American Psychiatric Association, the Connecticut Psychiatric Society, the Connecticut Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and two individuals have filed suit in the U.S District Court in Connecticut against Anthem and Wellpoint. This complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief that would declare that Anthem’s conduct since January 1, 2013 to be illegal and prohibit the Companies from continuing to discriminate against those with a mental illness.

In this action, the APA demands the enforcement of mental health parity, and reminds us that equal coverage for treatment of mental health problems is legally required by insurers. The failure of insurance companies to abide by parity and provide access to coverage is both illegal and unethical.

Kantor & Kantor, LLP understands how damaging and devastating mental health insurance denials can be. If you have experienced a violation of mental health parity, call for your free, no-cost consultation. We can help.

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