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More people are getting treatment for mental health and substance use disorder

It's been ten years since the mental health parity act was passed

A new study from independent nonprofit FAIR Health analyzed individual procedures or services covered by private insurance companies from 2007 to 2017. In that decade, use of services for behavioral health, which includes substance abuse and mental-health conditions, went up 320 percent. Treatment related to use and dependence on amphetamines climbed more than 3,000 percent, while use of treatment for anxiety diagnoses spiked more than 240 percent.

Patrice A. Harris, president-elect of the American Medical Association, said gaps continue to exist. Harris said that, as a psychiatrist, she practiced “pre-Parity and post-Parity," referring to the 2008 law.

“Although certainly there have been some improvements — and you have to realize where we were starting from — we are long overdue for making sure that the Parity Act fulfills its full promise in ending discriminatory and illegal barriers to treatment,” she said.

Harris said the AMA has worked with state insurance commissioners and found “parity violations have continued despite state and federal laws.”


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