On December 1st, 2022, the Senate Finance Committee released its fifth and final mental health discussion draft, this one focusing on mental health parity. Led by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Richard Burr (R-NC), policies in the draft include:

  • Strengthening the accuracy of provider directories in Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Strengthening requirements in Medicaid for managed care organizations and states to maintain regularly updated provider directories that include, in part, information on accessing care from behavioral health professionals.
  • Direct GAO to conduct a study of the differences in enrollee cost-sharing and utilization management between behavioral and non-behavioral health services in Medicare Advantage and compared to traditional Medicare.
  • Require Medicare to provide guidance to health care providers detailing the extent to which Medicare beneficiaries with substance use disorders can receive partial hospitalization program services.
  • Direct GAO to report on Medicaid payment rates for behavioral health services compared to medical and surgical services across a sample of states.

The Senate Finance Committee has also posted drafts on telehealth, youth mental health, workforce, and physical health and mental health integration. There continue to be discussions about including mental health bills in a final year-end package, but at this time it’s unclear how many of these provisions would make the cut.