Gateway Foundation Testifies for Substance Abuse Treatment Parity at Chicago Congressional Field Hearing

CHICAGO, Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment President and CEO Michael Darcy joined parity champions the Honorable Patrick Kennedy, the Honorable Jan Schakowsky and the Honorable Mike Quigley as well as treatment providers, local advocates and concerned citizens to testify regarding mental health and substance abuse parity inadequacies at the Chicago Congressional Field Hearing held on August 6, 2012, at the Union League Club.

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to ensure that financial requirements and treatment limitations applicable to mental health or substance use disorder benefits are no more restrictive than the predominant requirements or limitations applied to substantially all medical/surgical benefits. This applies to private and public sector employers with more than 50 employees, including self-insured as well as fully insured plans.

Modeled after the field hearings in 2007, which were successful in helping to enact the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) into law, the intent of the 2012 field hearings is to shine a light on problems patients are still facing as they try to access mental health and addiction treatment through their insurance and areas where parity is increasing access to care.  

"We have found that the Parity Act's transparency requirements for patient placement have opened the door for more meaningful dialogue with insurance companies to help ensure that patients receive the appropriate level of care," explains Michael Darcy. "However, our experience at Gateway Foundation suggests that discrepancies between medical and behavioral health benefits still exist in the form of separate or higher co-pays and deductibles as well as more restrictive treatment limitations for behavioral health needs."

For more information about the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 and Congressional Field Hearings, please visit the Parity Implementation Coalition website at parityispersonal.org.

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment
Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment is Illinois' largest provider of substance abuse treatment, providing services for adults and adolescents at treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway is licensed by the state of Illinois and accredited by The Joint Commission, the leading accrediting organization for hospitals and behavioral healthcare organizations. Each year, Gateway Foundation helps thousands of individual's successfully complete treatment. To learn more about Gateway Foundation's free and confidential consultation, call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

SOURCE Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment

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