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DCBHA Welcomes Parity in Essential Health Benefit

posted Feb 14, 2013, 2:36 PM by DC Behavioral Health Association   [ updated Feb 14, 2013, 3:06 PM ]

The D.C. Behavioral Health Association commends the D.C. Health Insurance Exchange for adopting parity in behavioral health services in the District of Columbia. Today’s decision represents a major milestone in the long fight to ensure that mental illnesses and addictions are treated like any other health condition.


Today, the District of Columbia’s Health Insurance Exchange adopted an Essential Health Benefits (EHB) package. This benefit requires mental health and addiction treatment to be covered at parity with medical services. “Until now, many health plans in D.C. put limits and co-pays on mental health and addiction services that didn’t exist for medical services,” said Shannon Hall, Executive Director of the D.C. Behavioral Health Association. “Behavioral health services are not less important than medical services, and we are thrilled that D.C. has eliminated this discriminatory approach to health coverage.”


Currently, many individual and small business health plans do not cover behavioral health services at parity with medical care. “Today, D.C. residents have to pay out-of-pocket for mental health services – or else skip treatment altogether,” said Hall. “When people forego needed care, their conditions often worsen, deepening the negative impacts on their families and careers. As a result of the District’s decision, families can look forward to better care and less out-of-pocket expenses under the Health Insurance Exchange.” 


The D.C. Behavioral Health Association represents 30 providers who deliver addiction and mental health services to 20,000 D.C. residents every year. Over 62% of the D.C. residents who received a substance abuse or mental health treatment in FY2010 did so from a member of the D.C. Behavioral Health Association.


For more information, contact Shannon Hall, Executive Director of DCBHA at (202/302-8397).