Mental health parity: implications for the state of Florida

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Bruce Levin


The federal Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 required insurers to offer the same benefits for mental disorders and substance abuse as they provide for physical disorders and includes parity for any annual or lifetime limitations and restrictions placed upon such coverage. To date, twenty-one states across the nation have enacted parity laws for mental health and/or substance abuse benefits. This paper summarizes the essential issues facing the state of Florida in the development of state mental health parity legislation, including an examination of the experiences of other states, a look at potential benefits, and a discussion of the impact of managed care and insurance benefit design on the costs of parity for mental health benefits in Florida.