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Maryland Insurance Administration to hold April 26 public hearing on mental health parity regulations

BALTIMORE – Maryland Insurance Commissioner Kathleen A. Birrane has announced that the Maryland Insurance Administration will hold its second virtual public hearing on mental health parity reporting regulations.

Legislation enacted during the 2020 Session of the Maryland General Assembly requires insurers, nonprofit health service plans, health maintenance organizations and any other entity that offers health benefit plans in Maryland to submit reports to the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) to demonstrate compliance with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, also known as MHPAEA. The Legislation, codified at Md. Code Ann. Section 15-144, sets forth the content of the reports, which are due in March 2022 and March 2024.

The law requires Commissioner Birrane to adopt by December 31, 2021, a standard report form and regulations implementing the reporting requirements, including ensuring uniform definitions and methodologies to be used by insurance carriers when preparing the required reports. The law directs the MIA to work closely with interested stakeholders to develop the regulations.

The second public hearing will be held on Monday, April 26, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The first hearing was held on Nov. 23, 2020.

At the Nov. 23 hearing, subject matter experts and interested stakeholders discussed, among other topics, nonquantitative treatment limitations (NQTL) that should be the subject of reporting. Having considered all comments provided at or in conjunction with the November 2020 public hearing, and mindful of the relevant legislative history, the Commissioner and the MIA staff have determined that it is appropriate to amend the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) MHPAEA Tool to add reimbursement rates to the 13 NQTLs currently identified.

The Commissioner is welcoming comments by registered speakers concerning the proposed inclusion of reimbursement rates as one additional nonquantitative treatment limitation (NQTL) to the 13 NQTLs identified in the NAIC Tool.

If you would like to present or offer public comments during the virtual public hearing, please notify the MIA in advance of the meeting by submitting your request to MHPAEA.mia@maryland.gov. Written comments will also be accepted at that address before the hearing or up to 14 days after. Unregistered hearing attendees will be permitted to speak if time allows.

Noting the Governor’s Commission to Study Metal and Behavioral Health in Maryland on which she serves, Commissioner Birrane said “the Hogan Administration is deeply committed to assuring that Marylanders have access to mental and behavioral health services, including substance abuse treatment. That includes addressing disparities in access to treatment. I welcome the opportunity to work with stakeholders to develop regulations to implement the parity reporting requirements that will allow us to identify and address those disparities.”

More information about the hearing and how to virtually attend and participate is available at this link: https://insurance.maryland.gov/Consumer/Documents/agencyhearings/MHPAEA-Public-Hearing-Notice-and-Agenda-4262021.pdf

The Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act became federal law in January 2009.  Generally, the law requires that financial requirements and limitations imposed on coverage for mental health and substance use disorder benefits be no more restrictive than financial requirements and limitations on coverage for medical/surgical benefits.

Special Note: The Maryland Insurance Administration remains fully operational during the COVID-19 emergency. If you would like to file an insurance complaint, please use our online portal:https://enterprise.insurance.maryland.gov/consumer/ConsumerPortalWelcomePage.aspx

About the Maryland Insurance Administration

The Maryland Insurance Administration is an independent State agency charged with regulating Maryland’s $28.5 billion insurance industry. For more information about the Insurance Administration, please visit www.insurance.maryland.gov or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MDInsuranceAdmin, Twitter at @MD_Insurance, LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/maryland-insurance-administration  or Instagram at @marylandinsuranceadmin.

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