Evaluation of Parity in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program: Final Report. Summary of Findings on the Implementation of Parity in the FEHB Program

12/31/2004

All FEHB plans complied with the parity policy. No plan left the FEHB Program to avoid implementing the parity policy, and plans enhanced their MH/SA nominal benefits as required by the policy change. According to most (two-thirds) of the FEHB plans, they incurred no added administrative cost in implementing the parity policy. Effective benefits changed most dramatically in regards to the increased likelihood that, post-parity, FEHB plans would enter into managed care carve-out arrangements with specialty behavioral health care organizations (in comparison to non-FEHB plans without a parity policy). Most other hypothesized post-parity changes occurred less frequently than had been anticipated (e.g., increased gate-keeping, expanded provider networks, and increased financial risk sharing). Finally, FEHB network providers had little awareness of the parity policy implementation and very limited understanding of the parity benefit. This page intentionally left blank.

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