EASNA Urges US Regulators Not to Discriminate Against EAPs in Federal Mental Health Parity Regulations

EASNA has written to regulators in the US Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury, urging them to recognize the value of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and modify the interim final regulations of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA). Click here to see the letter sent to the Regulators

The letters from EASNA President Phil Evans, available on the EASNA website for media (www.easna.org/media.html) point out a flaw in the MHPAEA regulations regarding EAPs. Although the regulations permit employers to not offer any mental health and substance abuse (MHSA) benefits, if employers exercise that option and do not offer MHSA benefits, they also are effectively prohibited from offering an EAP. Evans persuasively argues that to link EAPs to health plan coverage in this way is discriminatory and denies employers the freedom to implement EAPs whose foci is so fundamentally different than health care coverage. Evans concludes that the regulations as written are ultimately counterproductive to employees and harmful to the EAP industry that EASNA represents and the employers EASNA supports.

EASNA’s involvement in the MHPAEA regulatory process is being managed by the association’s new Advocacy Committee. This committee’s mission is to represent and advance the interests of the employee assistance community in legislative and regulatory affairs at the state, provincial and federal levels. Working collaboratively with other organizations and coalitions, the EASNA Advocacy Committee seeks to create a regulatory and legislative landscape throughout North America that will facilitate the maximum growth and positive societal influence of employee assistance programs.

EASNA is an association focused on advancing knowledge, research, and best practices toward achieving healthy and productive workplaces. Comprised of thought leaders and change agents, EASNA focuses on ensuring that the EA field continues to grow and flourish by broadening its base of engaged and committed stakeholders.

Posted on EASNA News