Affordable Care Act Expands Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits and Federal Parity Protections for 62 Million Americans . 2. Parity in the Individual and Small Group Markets


Second, HHS finalized regulations that apply federal parity rules to mental health and substance use disorder benefits included in Essential Health Benefits.  As a result, Americans accessing coverage through non-grandfathered plans in the individual and small group markets will now be able to count on mental health and substance use disorder coverage that is comparable to their general medical and surgical coverage. 

  • Under this approach, 7.1 million Americans currently covered in the individual market who currently have some mental health and substance use disorder benefits will have access to  coverage of Essential Health Benefits that conforms to federal parity protections as provided for under the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.9
  • In addition, because the application of parity to Essential Health Benefits will also apply to those currently enrolled in non-grandfathered plans in the small group market, 23.3 million current enrollees in small group plans will also receive the benefit of having mental health and substance use disorder benefits that are subject to the federal parity law.10,11

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