A recent edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette focused on the planning efforts by Highmark Insurance to assure health care parity and the economic and health care value of integrated health care.
The Post-Gazette article notes that “behavioral health care is still provided under a “separate and unequal” system, eight years after enactment of a federal law that meant to curb such disparity,” noted Patrick Kennedy in a meeting with a group of Pittsburgh-area health insurance caseworkers. “But that may start to change by fall when employer compliance monitoring is expected to begin for the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act,” the 49-year-old former Rhode Island congressman told about 20 case managers at Highmark Health. Mr. Kennedy was upbeat, saying a renaissance was at hand as employers and insurers learn about the cost-saving value of behavioral health coverage. “The business model isn’t there yet. This is going to take time,” he said. “Let’s find the value so it makes sense for insurance companies.”
In a related effort, the Pennsylvania Parity Coalition will be meeting this week with the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, to discuss the implementation and monitoring of commercial insurance plans as part of the federal parity requirements in the move toward integrated health care. RCPA, along with leading provider and consumer advocacy groups and representatives of ParityTrack, supported by the Kennedy Forum, make up the core leadership of the Pennsylvania Parity Coalition.