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Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAE)

The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA) is a federal law that requires that annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health benefits be no lower than the limits for medical and surgical benefits offered by a group health plan or health insurance issuer offering coverage in connection with a group health plan. In October of 2008, the law was amended by the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). In general, the MHPAEA requires group health plans that offer mental health and/or substance use disorder benefits to ensure that those benefits are equivalent to the medical/surgical benefits offered by the same plan. This concept is referred to as “parity of benefits.”