Summary: S.543 — 107th Congress (2001-2002)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (09/06/2001)

Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 2001 - Amends the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Public Health Service Act, respectively, to prohibit certain employee group health plans or related insurances providing both medical-surgical and mental health benefits from imposing mental health treatment limitations or financial requirements unless comparable limitations and requirements are imposed upon medical-surgical benefits. States that the foregoing shall not be construed as requiring a group health plan (or related insurances): (1) to provide any mental health benefits; (2) preventing the medical management of mental health benefits; or (3) requiring the provision of specific mental health services, except to the extent that failure to provide such services would result in a disparity between the coverage of mental health and medical-surgical benefits.

Exempts specified small employers from such requirements (any employer who employed an average of at least 2 but not more than 50 employees on business days during the preceding calendar year).

Requires that, in the case of a group health plan that offers a participant or beneficiary two or more benefit package options, the coverage requirements shall be applied separately with respect to each such option.

Provides that, in the case of a plan or insurance providing in-network mental health benefits, out-of-network mental health benefits need not be provided at parity to medical-surgical benefits, as long as in-network mental health benefits are provided at parity with medical-surgical benefits and the plan or insurance provides reasonable access to in-network providers and facilities.

Requires a General Accounting Office study of such requirements' effects upon health insurance costs, access, and quality.