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About Mental Health

In partnership with the Association for Community Affiliated Plans and other organizations, NAMI filed suit today to invalidate the federal short-term, limited duration (STLD) insurance plan rule issued last month by three federal agencies. The legal challenge seeks a temporary injunction against the recently issued STLD rule, which would expand the availability of plans that do not have to provide coverage for mental heatlh and substance use services or comply with mental health parity.

These short-term, limited duration plans are permitted to:

  • Deny coverage for any pre-existing condition, including mental illness;
  • Charge higher premiums for people with a history of mental health conditions;
  • Not cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment; and
  • Deny coverage of services resulting from self-inflicted injury.

Short-term limited duration plans are likely to attract younger and healthier individuals, many of whom will be left without the coverage they need in a mental health crisis or if they develop a mental health condition.

By luring healthy people away from comprehensive health insurance plans, the rule will also result in higher premiums for quality plans that provide parity mental health coverage and that do not exclude people with pre-existing conditions.

Recent analysis found that 98% of health care groups either raised concerns with the rule or expressed outright opposition to it. At a time when 81% of people in the U.S. say that insurance companies should not have the legal right to deny coverage for people who have pre-existing conditions, the administration has decided to move forward with a change that will do just that. Health care groups uniformly agree that the rule could gravely hurt sick patients.

NAMI provided comments opposing the rule for its harmful impact on people with mental illness, citing our recent research report on the many problems with insurance plans prior to the Affordable Care Act’s patient protections and parity mental health and substance use coverage requirement.

For the past 20 years, NAMI has fought for parity—the fundamental tenant that mental health care is just as important as physical health care. We have steadily made progress on this issue in both the hearts and minds of the country and its policies. We have joined this suit because we oppose rolling back of the clock to a time when life-saving mental health treatment was limited or unavailable. The health of our nation includes its mental health and it is imperative to retain mental health parity and access to essential mental health benefits for all Americans.

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