The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (the "Mental Health Parity Act"), passed last year, requires group health plans for businesses with more than 50 employees to provide any mental health or substance use disorder benefits they offer on par with other medical or surgical benefits. That is, the Mental Health Parity Act prohibits such group health plans from being more restrictive with regard to any mental health and substance use disorder benefits offered than the medical and surgical benefits being offered. Employers are not required to offer mental health or substance use disorder benefits. But if they do, parity among these benefits is required in regard to financial requirements and treatment limitations, annual and lifetime dollar maximums, and out-of-network providers.
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