NAMI Disappointed by U.S. Court of Appeals Ruling Allowing Short–Term, Limited Duration Plans

Jul 17, 2020

NAMI is extremely frustrated by today’s U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in ACAP v. Treasury, upholding the Administration’s regulation allowing for the sale of harmful short-term, limited duration (STLD) plans as a substitute for comprehensive health insurance. A 3-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled 2-1 that the Administration was permitted to increase the availability of these ‘junk’ plans, which allows the denial of coverage for mental health care and charges higher premiums for people with a history of mental health conditions.

In 2018, the federal government issued a rule to expand short-term, limited duration (STLD) plans. NAMI opposed the rule for its potential to harm people with mental illness. After it was finalized, NAMI joined the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) to challenge the rule in federal court.

The following statement is provided by Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):

“Throughout NAMI’s 40-year history, the fight for parity—the equitable treatment of mental health conditions—has been at the very heart of our work. We see the impacts of inequality every day and will not stop fighting until people can rightfully get the appropriate care they need. Unfortunately, today’s ruling takes us in the wrong direction. These ‘junk’ plans do not have to provide any mental health coverage at all. They may look inexpensive, but are confusing and can leave people vulnerable to thousands of dollars in uncovered mental health care or going without care at all.”

“As the COVID-19 pandemic adds to people’s mental health strains, we need more access to mental health care, not less. We need policies that make mental health care fairly financed, easier to access and higher quality for all Americans.”

“While we evaluate our next steps in the legal process, know that NAMI has no intention of letting up on our fight for fair and equal coverage of mental health conditions. It is imperative that insurance plans provide essential mental health benefits for all Americans, plain and simple.”

Organizations that joined the ACAP and NAMI in filing the original lawsuit included Mental Health America, American Psychiatric Association (APA), AIDS United, National Partnership for Women & Families, and Little Lobbyists.

NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).