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How the House and Senate mental health care parity bills differ*

Where they Agree:

  • Group health care plans can't impose higher cost-sharing requirements for mental health care expenses than for other medical conditions.

  • No discriminatory treatment limitations for mental health care services.

  • Exempts employers with fewer than 50 employees from parity requirements.

  • Exempts employers from parity requirements if upgrading mental health benefits boosts costs by at least 2% the first year after the legislation goes into effect and 1% in succeeding years.

Where they differ:

  • House bill does not pre-empt stronger state parity laws; Senate bill pre-empts such laws.

  • House bill requires coverage, if medically necessary, of mental disorders that are covered by the health plan with the greatest enrollment offered to federal employees.

*As passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee and House Education and Labor Committee