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Ohio Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) to be introduced

Representative Phil Plummer and Representative Allison Russo will soon be introducing the Ohio Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). The aim of this legislation is to align state law with current federal law; raise awareness amongst individuals, families and employers about their rights and responsibilities under the law; and facilitate greater implementation and enforcement. The goal is to provide greater transparency and accountability that results in expanded access to mental health and addiction treatment services for Ohioans. 

We are all aware of the opioid epidemic in Ohio, and this legislation will help ensure Ohioans are getting better access to mental health (MH) and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Technical and conforming amendments are being made to the bill to align Ohio insurance codes with the federal parity law. Additionally, the Superintendent of Insurance must implement and enforce the MHPAEA by specifically requiring compliance by health plans, evaluating all consumer and provider complaints, and issuing a Parity compliance report. This bill will prohibit treatment limitations (quantitative and non-quantitative) that are only applied to MH/SUD benefits and not to medical/surgical benefits. This bill will also prohibit health plans from excluding coverage for counseling or wraparound services and from imposing prior authorization requirements on medications for SUD treatment. A covered individual affected by a health plan’s failure to provide parity may file a complaint with the consumer services division of the Department of Insurance. 

This issue was brought to our attention of the sponsors by the Ohio Parity at 10 Compliance Campaign. This is a coalition of 24 different associations including the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association, Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers, NAMI Ohio, Ohio Counseling Association, Ohio State Medical Association, and Ohio Citizen Advocates for Addiction Recovery. Please note: improving Parity was also identified as the second-highest priority in the March 2019 report issued by Governor DeWine's Recovery Ohio Advisory Council.

OPPA members are encouraged to reach out to their Representatives and encourage them to cosponsor this legislation or if you have any questions please contact Ryan Quinn at 614-644-8051 or or Representative Russo’s Legislative aide Uma Loganathan at 614-466-8012 or by COB this Thursday, December 5th.


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