Insurance Department seeking comments on mental health parity

If you have something to say about how mental health parity laws are being followed, here’s your chance: The Connecticut Insurance Department is soliciting written comments on how it can ensure that insurance companies comply with state and federal laws requiring that they treat mental health the same way they treat medical issues.

The move is required by the law passed earlier this year in response to the massacre at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. The legislation drew most attention for its provisions relating to firearms, but it also included several provisions related to mental health. One requires the insurance commissioner to seek input on ways the department could check for compliance with mental health parity laws from both the public and from “stakeholders” including the state healthcare advocate, insurance companies, health care professionals and behavioral health advocacy groups.

The insurance department launched a website to accept electronic comments (click here). People can also send comments by mail, hand deliver them or send them by courier. Information on how to submit them is available here.

Comments will be accepted through Oct. 15. They’ll be included in a report issued at the end of the year to the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate and Public Health committees.

The insurance department has faced criticism for its handling of mental health parity issues, although it has said that existing law and regulations lack specificity, making regulation challenging.

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