By BEN LEONARD: Complete Post through this link…
The Biden administration is going after health insurers for flouting a federal law requiring them to provide mental health care on the same terms as other care.
The administration has proposed new rules it says will make the insurers comply and it’s threatening big fines if they don’t. Insurers are pleading innocent and, backed by some of America’s biggest companies, claiming the Biden administration plan could make an intractable problem worse.
The battle comes as Americans’ mental health care needs are at modern highs, following a pandemic-driven spike that refuses to abate.
“We always hope for collaboration, but the rule has sticks as well,” Neera Tanden, head of President Joe Biden’s domestic policy council, told POLITICO. “We hope insurers will change their behavior going forward without the sticks, but we will continue to fully enforce the parity law.”
Those sticks include fines of $100 per policyholder per day if insurers don’t close loopholes the administration says they’re using to limit what they pay for mental health care. The administration says those ploys include requirements that doctors seek insurers’ approval before delivering care, lower reimbursement rates for providers who treat mental illness and deliberate efforts to limit the number of in-network physicians available to patients.