Following the death of Sen Paul Wellstone (D, Minn), the Senate extended
for a year a law that provides insurance parity for mental health coverage.
Passed in 1996, the law was set to expire at the end of 2002. It requires
that insurance companies provide the same annual and lifetime benefits for
physical and mental health coverage.
Wellstone had pushed for an expansion of the law that would have prevented
insurance companies from charging higher deductibles and copayments for mental
health care. The new provisions, which were not enacted, also would have barred
differing limits on the number of visits, total days of coverage, or scope
Vastag B. Mental Health Parity. JAMA. 2003;289(1):35. doi:10.1001/jama.289.1.35-a