NAMI - National Alliance on Mental Illness Home | About NAMI | Contact Us | En Espanol  | Donate  
Find
  Advanced Search  
 

Sign In
myNAMI
Communities
Register and Join
Donate
What's New
State & Local NAMIs
Advocate Magazine
NAMI Newsroom
NAMI Store
NAMIWALKS
National Convention
Special Needs Estate Planning
NAMI Travel


Print this page
Graphic Site
Log Out
 | Print this page | 
 | 
Become_An_Advocate

Take Action Now, or read more below. Enter Zip:

House to Consider Association Health Plan Legislation; Proposal Would Weaken State Mental Illness Insurance Parity Laws

April 25, 2005

Later this week the U.S. House of Representatives will consider legislation to vastly expand multi-employer Association Health Plans (AHPs) and undermine existing state laws that require health plans to cover treatment for mental illness on the same terms and conditions as all other illnesses -- commonly referred to as parity. This proposal (HR 525) would significantly expand the scope of a federal law (known as ERISA), that exempts self-insured employer health plans from state regulation. By expanding ERISA, HR 525 would encourage employers that currently offer health plans for their workers (and their families) to switch away from coverage that meets a parity standard, i.e. plans that cover mental illnesses the same as all other illnesses.

The AHPs envisioned by HR 525 would be exempt from all state insurance laws, including: state parity laws, minimum coverage standards for mental illness treatment and other consumer protections. The supporters of AHPs assert that HR 525 would help make employer coverage more affordable and ease the growth among the uninsured. However, several recent studies have found that AHPs are not effective in reaching uninsured workers and their families and are more likely to fail as a result of insolvency.

Action Requested

NAMI advocates are strongly encouraged to contact their House member to urge them to oppose HR 525. Remind your House member that this well-intentioned legislation would have enormous negative consequences for workers and their families. In NAMI's view, HR 525 would:

  • severely undermine the effectiveness of the 34 state mental illness insurance parity laws,
  • fail to address the problem of the uninsured -- studies demonstrate that most employers that would switch to AHP coverage already provide coverage on their own, and
  • place workers and their families at risk of losing coverage -- studies show that AHPs have a long history of plan failures and insolvency (AHPs would not have to meet current solvency and reserve standards enforced by state insurance commissioners).

Enter your zip code below to access a sample letter on this issue and a list of your representatives to contact now. If you do not see the box for entering the zip code, click here.

All House members can be reached by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or online through www.congress.org.

 

More from NAMI about parity

 

Take Action Now: Write your representatives. Enter Zip:
More Issues

 | Print this page | 
 | 

Donate

Support NAMI to help millions of Americans who face mental illness every day.

Donate today

Speak Out

Inspire others with your message of hope. Show others they are not alone.

Share your story

Get Involved

Become an advocate. Register on NAMI.org to keep up with NAMI news and events.

Join NAMI Today
Home  |  myNAMI  |  About NAMI  |  Contact Us  |  Jobs  |  SiteMap

Copyright © 1996 - 2011 NAMI. All Rights Reserved.