Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced "the largest behavioral health expansion in a generation" on Friday, with new requirements that health insurance companies treat mental illness and addiction the same as other illnesses.
Sebelius made the announcement at a mental health symposium in Atlanta.
Sebelius said the administration will post regulations Friday requiring mental health parity. The new regulations will apply to both outpatient and residential treatment for mental health and addiction, which means patients would have the same deductible and co-payments applied to physical illnesses.
The regulations aren't new. Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which "requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to ensure that financial requirements such as co-pays, deductibles and treatment limitations, such as visit limits" are no more restrictive for mental health or addiction than for physical ailments.