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Mental Health Parity & Addiction Equity: What Does It Mean?

Broadcast date: 1/22/2015

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), mental health and substance use abuse coverage has been expanded greatly.  Prior to its implementation, about one-third of individuals with health insurance had no coverage for substance use disorder services, and almost 20 percent had no coverage for mental health disorders.  

With the passage of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, as amended by the ACA, mental health and substance use services are now required to be covered at parity, or on fair and equal terms, with other medical services.  Yet, many individuals still have questions regarding what mental health and substance use disorder services will be covered, and how to access help.  

How does this expansion of benefits impact the community? Are patients receiving fair treatment and coverage?  Is treatment even available in our area?  

Host Kris Kington-Barker is joined by guests Jill Bolster-White, MPA, Executive Director with Transitions-Metal Health Association, Anne Robin, MFT, Behavioral Health Administrator, County of San Luis Obispo, and Sara Cress, LCSW, Mental Health Director with the Community Health Centers of the Central Coast to discuss the importance of coverage under this new law and how best individuals can access services and receive the treatment they deserve.

Central Coast Voices is sponsored by ACTION for Healthy Communities in collaboration with KCBX and made possible through underwriting by Joan Gellert-Sargen.