New federal laws may have increased employer health plan spending on mental health care and preventive services between 2010 and 2011, but the overall rate of increase was modest.
The Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI)—a nonprofit think tank that uses data from Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET); Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM); Kaiser Permanente; and UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE:UNH)—has published service-by-service data in a new group health plan cost report.
In January 2011, employer health plans with more than 50 insured employees that provide mental health benefits had to start complying with the federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). MHPAEA limits large plans' ability to put tighter limits on mental health care than on other types of care.
In 2011, group plans and writers of individual health insurance had to start complying with the preventive services provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA). The PPACA provisions require plans to cover some preventive health services, such as checkups, without imposing co-payments, deductibles or other cost-sharing provisions on the patients.