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Biden's Administration Takes Action to Address Insufficient Insurance for Mental Health Care

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The Biden Administration Aims to Crack Down on Health Insurance Plans that Discriminate Against Mental Health Care


The Biden administration has proposed a rule that will crack down on health insurance plans that discriminate against individuals in need of mental health care and substance abuse treatments. The rule, published by the Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury departments, aims to ensure that health insurers comply with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. This law, passed in 2008, requires insurance plans to offer the same level of coverage for mental health care and substance abuse treatments as they do for other illnesses. The goal is to address the current issue of insurers evading the law and making it difficult for patients to access the care they need.

The Problem and Proposed Solution

Many insurance plans do not provide sufficient therapists within their network, forcing patients to seek care out of network and pay more. Additionally, patients often have to obtain permission from their insurer or face having their claims denied, leading to out-of-pocket expenses. To address these issues, the proposed rule will require insurance plans to evaluate how their coverage policies impact patients' access to mental health and substance abuse treatments. If insurers are not in compliance with the law, they will be required to take action, such as adding more therapists to their networks.

Public Comment Period and Survey Findings

Before the proposed rule is finalized, there will be a 60-day public comment period. This will allow stakeholders and the public to provide feedback and suggest improvements. The importance of this rule is evident when considering the findings of a survey conducted by the research institute NORC. The survey revealed that individuals with insurance face more challenges in accessing mental health services compared to other types of medical care. Almost 40% of people with employer-sponsored insurance had to seek more expensive out-of-network mental health care, while only 15% had to do the same for physical health care. Additionally, insurance coverage denials for mental health or substance abuse services were significantly higher compared to those for physical health care.


The Biden administration's proposed rule on health insurance plans aims to address the discrimination faced by individuals seeking mental health care and substance abuse treatments. By enforcing compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, the administration hopes to improve access to these essential services. The public comment period will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to voice their opinions and contribute to the development of a final rule that truly meets the needs of those in need of mental health care support.

Hot Take: Impact on New Businesses

The Biden administration's crackdown on health insurance plans that discriminate against mental health care and substance abuse treatments could have a significant impact on new businesses. Here's why: 1. Employee Wellbeing: Starting a new business often means hiring a small team of employees. With mental health issues on the rise, it is crucial for employers to offer comprehensive health insurance coverage that includes mental health care. By enforcing compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, the Biden administration is ensuring that employees in new businesses have access to the mental health services they may need. This can contribute to a healthier and more productive workforce. 2. Attracting Talent: In today's job market, potential candidates prioritize mental health support when considering job offers. New businesses that offer robust mental health coverage will have a competitive advantage in attracting top talent. By cracking down on discriminatory insurance practices, the Biden administration is pushing for a level playing field where mental health care is treated equally. This can help new businesses build a strong team and remain competitive in the market. 3. Reducing Financial Burdens: Many individuals seeking mental health care often face high out-of-pocket costs due to insurance coverage denials or limited in-network options. The proposed rule aims to address these challenges by requiring insurance plans to evaluate their coverage policies. This means that employees in new businesses will have a higher likelihood of receiving the mental health care they need without shouldering significant financial burdens. This, in turn, can contribute to a happier and more engaged workforce. In conclusion, the Biden administration's efforts to crack down on discriminatory health insurance plans will have a positive impact on new businesses. By prioritizing mental health care and ensuring compliance with existing laws, new businesses can create a supportive work environment, attract top talent, and reduce financial burdens for their employees. This aligns with the evolving expectations of the modern workforce and sets the stage for a healthier, more productive future. Article First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/07/25/biden-mental-health-care-push-targets-insurers.html

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