Substantial Improvements to Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Coverage in Response to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008. Quantitative Treatment Limits


Inpatient -- Significant Decline in Use of More Restrictive Day Limits

In 2010, large employer-based plans used day limits on mental health inpatient benefits that generally conformed to MHPAEA standards, and more than 80% of these plans did the same for inpatient care for substance use disorders. Significant progress was made, and in 2011 around 92% of large employer-based plans sampled used comparable day limits for inpatient care for substance use disorders. These findings were corroborated by analysis of an additional database of plan designs from 2009, 2010, and 2011 which also indicated a dramatic decline in the proportion of plans using more restrictive inpatient day limits on MH/SUD care.

Outpatient -- Dramatic Decline in More Restrictive Visit Limits

In 2010, more than 50% of large employer-based plans used more restrictive visit limits for MH/SUD services that did not conform to MHPAEA standards. In the 2011 sample of large employer-based health plans, about 93% were using comparable visit limits. This trend was also evident in the plan design database comparing plans across 2009, 2010, and 2011. There too, substantial reductions in quantitative treatment limits for MH/SUD in large employer-based plans were seen after enactment of MHPAEA.

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