State laws mandating or regulating mental health benefits

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will expand coverage of mental health and substance use disorder benefits and federal parity protections to over 60 million Americans.

The key to this expansion is the essential health benefit provision in the ACA that requires coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services at parity with general medical benefits.

At the same time, Colorado expanded the substance use disorder services that Medicaid covers to include medication assisted treatment, peer advocate services, and other items.

It also raised the payment limits on services such as counseling and drug screenings.

In 2014, Colorado extended Medicaid eligibility to lower-income childless adults, which brought more than 439,000 additional people into the program.

Another large initiative, the Colorado State Innovation Model (SIM), is a million federally funded program to help primary care providers integrate behavioral health services into their practices, including substance use disorder treatment.

These and other efforts have expanded insurance coverage for and access to behavioral health services for many Coloradans.

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded parity in two ways.

First, it extended MHPAEA protections to insurance plans that had not been covered under previous laws.

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