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Capitol Health Call
January 1, 2003

Mental Health Parity

JAMA. 2003;289(1):35. doi:10.1001/jama.289.1.35-a

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 of treatment.

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