MHPAEA legislation introduced in both the Ohio House and Senate
Bipartisan companion bills have been introduced in the Ohio House and Senate to align Ohio's mental health parity laws with the current federal law, Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.
Representatives Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) and Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) introduced House Bill 443. Senators Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and Sean O'Brien (D-Bazetta) introduced Senate Bill 254.
In 2008, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) was signed into law on the federal level. Unfortunately, several years prior, Ohio created its own parity law and has not updated it to align with federal law. Ohio's outdated parity laws have resulted in a lack of mental health insurance coverage by insurers in Ohio and an ’F’ rating by the Kennedy-Satcher Center for Mental Health Equity.
Recent data suggests that Ohio insurers may not be covering mental health to the levels required by federal law—contracting with fewer providers and paying them relatively less. Mental health parity was identified as a top priority in the March 2019 report issued by Governor DeWine’s Recovery Ohio Advisory Council.
Strong state parity laws are foundational to robust parity enforcement, because without such laws, there often is little transparency or accountability relating to health plans’ parity compliance and regulatory agencies’ enforcement activities
House Bill 443 and Senate Bill 254 will align Ohio's mental health parity laws with the current federal MHPAEA law. In addition, the legislation is intended to raise awareness among individuals, families, and employers about their rights and responsibilities under the law, as well as facilitate greater implementation and enforcement.
OPPA has been an active member of the Parity@10 Ohio Coalition and helped write language for the two companion bills. OPPA has taken a position of ACTIVE SUPPORT on the companion bills and will be working diligently with both House and Senate members to pass this much needed legislation that will greatly improve insurance coverage by insurers in Ohio so that Ohioans suffering with mental illnesses and/or addiction disorders will be treated no differently than getting treatment for cancer, diabetes or a broken bone.