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Biden proposes new rules aimed at boosting mental health coverage by insurers

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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced that his administration is moving forward with new rules meant to push insurance companies to increase their coverage of mental health treatments.


The new regulations, which still need to go through a public comment period, would require insurers to study whether their customers have equal access to medical and mental health benefits and to take remedial action, if necessary. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act requires that insurers provide the same level of coverage for both mental and physical health care — though the administration and advocates argue insurers’ policies restrict patient access.


“I don’t know what the difference between breaking your arm and having a mental breakdown is — it’s health,” Biden said in an East Room event highlighting the announcement. “We must fulfill the promise of true mental health parity for all Americans now.”


The rules, if finalized, would force insurers to study patient outcomes to ensure mental health and physical health benefits are administered equally, taking into account their provider network and reimbursement rates and whether prior authorization is required for care.