Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA)

Published: | Updated: March 5, 2018

Definition - What does Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA) mean?

The Mental Health Parity Act 1996 (MHPA) is a law that requires health insurance providers to cover mental health care in the same amounts as medical or surgical benefits.

Before the MHPA came into effect, insurance companies were not required to cover mental health care. In the absence of the act, access to mental health services was a challenge for those of modest financial means.

Insuranceopedia explains Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA)

The Mental Health Parity Act was signed into effect by President Clinton in 1996. It requires that annual caps and lifetime maximum benefits for mental health coverage be equal to those of other forms of health coverage.

Prior to the passing of this law, mental health treatment was usually covered at far lower levels in health insurance policies than physical conditions. Whether or not a plan is covered by federal parity law depends on a number of factors, including the kind of health plan a person is enrolled in and even its size.

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