Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mental Health Parity Matters

We thank Kantor and Kantor for their blog and want to draw additional attention to the New York settlement with Cigna.
Last week, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that the state of New York had settled with Cigna, a major insurance company. The settlement, resulted from a probe into New York health insurance companies’ compliance with mental health parity laws. The probe discovered that Cigna has denied more than 300 sessions of nutritional counseling to about 50 members with mental health conditions, mostly eating disorders, since 2010. Cigna’s denials were on the grounds that the members exceeded the three-visit limit. Because Cigna, did not limit nutritional counseling visits for members with physical diseases, the State determined they were in violation with existing New York parity law.
“State law clearly requires health insurance companies to provide mental health benefits on par with other medical benefits. There is no gray area here,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Today’s settlement puts insurance companies on notice: My office will aggressively enforce mental health parity laws and fight to give patients the benefits they are legally entitled to – and which they pay for.” (click here for the full announcement)
The EDC applauds Attorney General Schneiderman for his aggressive approach to protecting the consumer and requiring insurance companies to follow state and federal parity laws.  May this set a precedent, for similar actions at the national level, now that Federal Parity is in effect and the regulations have been clarified. (click here for our more on the federal parity regulations). Eating disorders must be treated at parity with physical conditions. We are hopeful we will see more of these actions taken across the country.
For specifics on the case and why parity matters, please click here to visit the blog of one of our members Kantor & Kantor  here for more details: http://www.kantorlaw.net/Eating_Disorder_Blog/2014/January/Parity_Prevails_After_Cigna_Wrongfully_Denies_Me.aspx


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