Feds Extend MHPA to December '05

December 16, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The interim final rules under the Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) have been extended again to December 31, 2005.

>President Bush signed the extension as part of the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004. MHPA has been amended three times before to extend the sunset date from its original September 30, 2001 (See  MHPA Extended Through 2004 ).

>MPHA requires that annual or lifetime dollar limits for mental heath benefits be no lower than the dollar limits for medical/surgical benefits offered by a group health plan.   The act applies to group health plans or health insurance coverage offered by issuers in connection with a group health plan that offers both mental health and medical/surgical benefits.   However, it does not require plans to offer mental health benefits.

>The technical amendment extending the sunset date is set to be published in the December 17, 2004 Federal Register.  

More information about the Mental Health Parity Act is at http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/FAQs/faq_consumer_mentalhealthparity.html .