Sen . Ron Wyden, D-Ore., learned from officials at Oregon Health & Science University some tactics health plans were using to deny coverage or refuse payment for critical mental health care.
Wyden wrote the examples “range from the rampant use of prior authorizations to blanket denials, and these practices were particularly used when patients were covered, unbeknownst to them, by plans that ‘carved out’ behavioral health care services.”
It needs to be investigated. And Wyden is doing something about it.
The Government Accountability Office had already planned to examine the demand for and delivery of mental health services because of the pandemic.
Wyden has requested that the GAO also ask questions that get at those examples he learned of from OHSU. For instance, he wants to know: How does compliance with federal mental health parity law differ across plans that contract these services out versus those that do not?
Everyone has likely felt a mental toll from COVID-19. If there’s funny business about denying people access to needed mental health care, it needs to be exposed.