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Applying the Parity Act to Medicare to Improve SUD, Mental Health Care Access

Access to care in other health coverage systems has improved with the adoption of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which requires most individual and employer-sponsored health plans and Medicaid plans to offer substance use and mental health benefits at the same level as, and with no more restrictive standards than, medical and surgical benefits. However, this non-discrimination law does not apply to Medicare. As a result, millions of individuals cannot get the treatment they need, and often lose access to treatment they were receiving prior to becoming eligible for Medicare.

Legal Action Center's (LAC) new issue brief outlines the Medicare standards, as currently structured, that would violate the Parity Act, and offers guidance for policymakers to remedy those discriminatory standards.

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