Tackling Another Public Health Emergency: Recent State and Federal Policies to Increase Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Access

While the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) ended in May, the PHE declaration for the opioid crisis continues. Opioid overdose deaths remain alarmingly high, and the Biden administration recently bolstered the federal government’s response to the opioid crisis with new proposed rules to strengthen access to treatment. CHIR’s Rachel Swindle and Kristen Ukeomah explore this proposal as well as other recent state and federal policy changes that aim to reduce barriers to evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder.

June Research Roundup: What We’re Reading

As we splashed into summer, CHIR soaked up the latest health policy research along with some rays. In June, we read about trends in coverage and access for LGBT adults, the rise of facility fees, and the out-of-pocket cost burden of mental health care.

February Research Roundup: What We’re Reading

Along with “Health Policy Valentines,” February brought a host of new health policy research. This month, we read about trends in medical and pharmacy spending, the relationship between health systems’ financial performance and amounts paid by commercial plans, and mental health provider network adequacy.

New Georgetown Report Reviews State Efforts to Enforce Mental Health Parity

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) aims to remove insurance-related obstacles to mental health and substance use disorder treatment, but inadequate compliance has raised questions about health plan enrollees’ ability to access critical behavioral health services. In a new issue brief, CHIR experts look at current barriers to effective state enforcement and identify opportunities to improve MHPAEA compliance.

Congress, Administration Work to Meet Growing Need for Behavioral Health Care

The need for mental health and substance use disorder services is substantial and growing. One in five adults in the United States, or 53 million people, had a mental illness in 2020, including 14 million adults who had serious mental illness; forty million adults had a substance use disorder. In response to these troubling trends, policymakers are seeking multi-pronged approaches to provide greater access to services that treat and manage mental health and substance use disorders. CHIR’s JoAnn Volk outlines how both Congress and the Biden administration plan to improve access to behavioral health care.

The Pandemic Exacerbated Gaps in Mental Health Care Access, but State and Federal Enforcement of Parity Requirements Can Help Improve Coverage

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a greater need for mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) services, but many have difficulty obtaining timely, affordable care, including the insured. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) requires plans and insurers that cover MH/SUD services to cover those services in parity with other medical benefits. CHIR’s JoAnn Volk looks at state and federal enforcement of mental health parity requirements, and what these efforts mean for consumers.

Federal Flexibility Grants Highlight State Priorities for Market Stability

Last month, the Department of Health & Human Services awarded $8.6 million in grants to 30 states and the District of Columbia to provide additional support to implement certain ACA market reforms, including guaranteed issue, guaranteed renewal, and the Essential Health Benefits. CHIR’s Rachel Schwab took a look at how states plan to use the federal funding, and what tops the list of state market stabilization and consumer protection priorities.

Progress on Mental Health Coverage Could Be Gutted by ACA Repeal

State regulators were making progress on mental health parity enforcement, due in part to new federal grants and technical assistance. But a repeal of the ACA would put at risk further progress on achieving parity in coverage for mental health and substance use disorders.

The opinions expressed here are solely those of the individual blog post authors and do not represent the views of Georgetown University, the Center on Health Insurance Reforms, any organization that the author is affiliated with, or the opinions of any other author who publishes on this blog.