health policy updates and breaking news from capitol hill
September 16, 2019  | 

Addiction Policy Update – September 2019



Mental Health and Addiction Parity

On September 5th, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employee Benefits Security Administration released their final mental health and addiction parity guidance. This contained frequently asked questions (FAQs), a disclosure template, and an update on enforcement. This guidance is pursuant to the 21st Century Cures Act, and also provides explanations of which practices would violate the the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA).

The disclosure template is intended to help individuals request more information on employer-sponsored health plans, and group or individual market insurers regarding treatment limitations that could impact one’s ability to receive care for substance use or mental health care concerns. The form can be used to gain general information on limitations, such as preauthorization policies for treatment, or why benefits were denied. More information can be found here.



On September 4th, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $1.8 billion in funding to states to help combat the ongoing opioid crisis. Roughly $930 million will be allocated to the State Opioid Response program, as administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Another $900 million will be will be allocated over 3 years through a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) program that allows state and local governments to track overdose data and develop strategies to assist individuals who have suffered from overdose to receive treatment. Funding breakdowns by state and more information can be found here.



Holly Strain, Sarah Herbert, and Carol McDaid of Capitol Decisions have generously provided the information used for this Policy Update.