Insurance coverage for mental healthcare

May 05, 2005

The primary impact of the Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) of 1996 on mental health provisions of employer-provided health insurance was the requirement that coverage for lifetime and annual dollar limits for mental health benefits be the same as those for medical and surgical benefits.

Percent of workers with mental healthcare benefits subject to more restrictive coverage limits, private industry, 1997 and 2002
[Chart data—TXT]

The incidence of employees in medical plans imposing more restrictive dollar limits on mental healthcare has decreased from 41 percent in 1997 to 7 percent in 2002 for inpatient care and from 55 percent to 7 percent for outpatient care.

In contrast, the incidence of employees covered by medical plans that provide for fewer inpatient days of care for mental illness than for other medical conditions has increased from 61 percent in 1997 to 77 percent in 2002.

The MHPA reduces differences in how medical care plans that offer both mental health and medical-surgical benefits treat those benefits in terms of lifetime and annual dollar benefit limits. The MHPA still allows day limits for inpatient or outpatient care, higher deductibles or coinsurance, and restrictions on prescription drugs.

These data on employer-provided mental health coverage come from the BLS National Compensation Survey - Benefits program. To learn more, see "Trends in employer-provided mental health and substance abuse benefits," by John D. Morton and Patricia Aleman, Monthly Labor Review, April 2005.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Insurance coverage for mental healthcare on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2005/may/wk1/art04.htm (visited July 29, 2016).

OF INTEREST

Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.