Alaska Mental Health Consumer Web

Mental Health Parity 
(Insurance Coverage)

During 1998, the Legislature of Alaska established the Mental Health Parity Task Force, composed of legislators, members of state government and the public to (1) study the problem of discrimination in health insurance policies in Alaska against mental health coverage, and (2) recommend action.  The Task Force has published its Final Report  (HTM Version)  (pdf version), calling for legislation to correct the problem.  On Friday, March 19, 1999, a bill to implement the Task Force's recommendations was introduced as HB 149.  See, also, Sponsor Statement.   As the legislative session proceeds, you can check the status of HB 149.

Task Force Recommendations (12/30/1998)

General.  The Task Force, having studied the various issues and elements of mental health parity, developed a set of three different models for initial consideration.  All three models have some common features:

Model 1: Federal Legislation Extended.  The first model presented for consideration would be the extension of the terms of MHPA (Mental Health Parity Act) of 1996 (federal legislation) to Alaskan firms with 20 or more employees.  This would involve equating annual and lifetime dollar limits between mental and physical health.  As noted above, it would also mandate that mental health coverage be provided in health care plans provided by firms subject to the mandate.  It would also be considered with and without substance abuse inclusion.

Model 2: Catastrophic Model.  The next model would add, in addition to the elements of MHTA noted above, parity with regard to days and visit limits and maximum out-of-pocket expenses.

Model 3:  Financial Parity.  This model would add, in addition to the elements of the two models noted above, parity with regard to co-insurance, co-payments, and deductibles.

The report of C & S Management Associates who were hired by the Task Force gives additional background. We have also preserved our past reports regarding the Mental Health Parity Task Force.

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Last modified 3/23/1999