HHSC: Mental Health Condition and Substance Use Disorder Parity Workgroup
The Mental Health Condition and Substance Use Disorder Parity Workgroup met in their second meeting which was largely organizational in nature. [This workgroup] was established by House Bill 10. During the 2017 Texas Regular Legislative Session, lawmakers passed an important bill related to mental health parity (HB 10). The new law, signed by Governor Abbott, aims to address ongoing challenges with mental health and substance use disorder "parity" protections. The goal is for more insured Texans have equal access to both physical health care and care for mental health and substance use disorder needs. The new law took effect September 1, 2017, though full implementation will take more time. In health care, "parity" describes the equal treatment of mental health conditions and substance use disorders by insurance plans, when compared to coverage for physical health care. When a plan has "parity" it means that health insurance coverage of mental health is equal to coverage for physical health. For example, if an insurer provides unlimited doctor visits for a condition like diabetes, then the insurer should also provide unlimited doctor's visits for mental health conditions like depression or schizophrenia. It is important to note that "parity" requires equal coverage, not necessarily good or comprehensive coverage.