Protections that are particularly important to psychiatric patients include:
o Prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions or other discrimination based on health status. Plans cannot exclude those with MI and SUD, and they cannot discriminate against or drop coverage of individuals who have had a psychiatric illness.
o Prohibition on lifetime and annual dollar limits starting in 2014.
o Dependent coverage allowing unmarried individuals to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26 (helps those with SPMI typically emerging in adolescence).
o Coverage of MI and SUD is required as part of the “core benefits” package that must be offered in the state insurance exchanges established by the law.
o When fully phased in, coverage of MI and SUD must be at parity with other medical and surgical benefits for all plans sold in the exchanges. This is “real parity, with teeth.”
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