PWBA Posts Technical Amendment on MHPA

September 26, 2002 ( - The US Department of Labor's Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration (PWBA) has announced publication of a technical amendment extending the sunset date for interim final regulations under the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996.

The PWBA says the announcement will be published in the September 27 issue of the Federal Register.

The technical amendment extends the original sunset date for the interim final regulations under the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 (MHPA) to Dec. 31, 2002.

On January 10, 2002, President Bush signed H.R. 3061, the 2002 Appropriations Act for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, legislation that included a provision that extended the original sunset date under MHPA. 

The PWBA noted that, since Congress is still considering substantive changes to MHPA, the technical amendment published today only applies to the law’s sunset provision to reflect the change made to MHPA’s sunset provision by H.R. 3061.

The MHPA requires that annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health benefits be no lower than the dollar limits for medical and surgical benefits offered by a group health plan. 

The law applies to group health plans (or health insurance coverage offered by issuers in connection with group health plans) that provide both medical/surgical benefits and mental health benefits.

For more information about mental health benefits, call PWBA’s publication hotline at 1-866-275-7922 or visit  the PWBA Web Site  to obtain a free copy of  “Questions and Answers: Recent Changes in Health Care Law.”