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State Mental Health Parity Laws

To download a chart of State Mental Health Parity Laws as a PDF, click here. (rev 07/09)

To download the companion Guide to State Parity Lawclick here.

Type of Law

Comprehensive parity

Equal coverage of a broad range of mental health conditions, including substance abuse disorders.  Does not exempt significant policy groups.

Broad-based parity

Equal coverage of a broad range of mental health conditions.   May include some limitations or exemptions.  

Limited parity

Limits equal coverage to a specific list of mental health conditions and/or
Excludes equal coverage for significant policy groups and/or
Limits equal coverage to certain durational or financial limits or cost-sharing requirements and/or
Allows plans to opt out of parity due to cost increase provisions.

Mandated if offered

Requires that mental health overage be equal to other medical conditions ifthe plan offers mental health coverage. 

Mandated offering

Requires a plan to offer an option of mental health coverage that is equal to coverage for other medical conditions.

Minimum mandated benefit

Mandates minimum mental health coverage that is not required to be equal to other medical conditions.

Covered Conditions

Serious mental illness

“Serious mental illness” is used to refer to coverage of major mental illnesses, typically defined in statute as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, psychotic disorders, bipolar disorder, major depression, panic disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Broad-based mental health disorders

“Broad-based mental health disorders” is used to refer to coverage of a relatively broad range of mental disorders.

Substance abuse disorders

“Substance abuse disorders” is used to refer to coverage of alcoholism and chemical dependency.





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