Mental Health Parity Legal Requirements for Employer Health Plans: Increased Risks to Plan Sponsors

MHPAEA Compliance, Enforcement, Litigation and Best Practices for Health Plan Audits

A live 90-minute CLE webinar with interactive Q&A

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

1:00pm-2:30pm EDT, 10:00am-11:30am PDT

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will provide benefits counsel and advisers with guidance on overcoming challenges in ensuring compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) for plan sponsors and insurers. The panel will discuss the requirements of MHPAEA for health plans that provide mental health and substance abuse disorder benefits, ERISA disclosure requirements, DOL enforcement of parity violations, methods in handling class actions and other lawsuits, and best practices for ensuring compliance with MHPAEA rules.


Plan sponsors face challenges in ensuring that their health plans meet the requirements of the MHPAEA. The Act includes strict requirements for health plans providing mental health and substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits, requiring plan sponsors and insurers to ensure that their group health plans do not include provisions that violate MHPAEA rules.

Plaintiffs continue to pursue class actions over MHPAEA rule violations with some courts allowing limited healthcare provider and provider association standing for assigned post-service claims, resulting in an increase of demands by non-plan participants. At the same time, the DOL continues its parity compliance efforts through its audits of group health plans. On Apr. 23, 2018, the DOL, HHS and IRS proposed additional FAQs related to the MHPAEA and its implementation, along with a revised disclosure form that participants, enrollees, and authorized representatives can use to request information from their plan or insurer.

All group health plans that provide MH/SUD benefits must comply with the parity rules, with limited exceptions. Benefits counsel and advisers must address the risks to plan sponsors and insurers by reassessing current health plans, adhering to the MHPAEA rules and disclosure obligations under ERISA, and other issues that arise in DOL audits or class action lawsuits.

Listen as our panel discusses the legal requirements of the parity rules, techniques for handling DOL health plan audits and plaintiff lawsuits, and preventative methods to ensure MHPAEA compliance for plans providing MH/SUD benefits.



  1. Overview of MHPAEA requirements and exceptions for plans providing MH/SUD benefits
  2. DOL, HHS and Treasury guidance for MHPAEA and ERISA compliance
  3. DOL parity compliance enforcement and handling health plan audits
  4. Class action lawsuits and preventative methods to avoid them
  5. Best practices for conducting internal audits of group health plans for MHPAEA compliance


The panel will review these and other crucial questions:

  • MHPAEA legal requirements for plans providing MH/SUD benefits
  • Recent DOL, HHS and IRS proposals and guidance on MHPAEA compliance and implementation
  • Revised disclosure form for document requests and updated self-compliance tool
  • ERISA disclosure requirements for health plans providing mental health and substance use disorder benefits
  • DOL compliance enforcement and handling health plan audits
  • Class action lawsuits focused on MHPAEA violations and methods to avoid them
  • Conducting internal group health plan audits to ensure MHPAEA compliance


Temme, Ryan
Ryan C. Temme

Groom Law Group

Mr. Temme practices in the firm's Health and Welfare Practice Group, where he works on a variety of health law...  |  Read More

Welsch, Christopher
Christopher W. Welsch

Winston & Strawn

Mr. Welsch advises employers on a wide range of benefits plans, including qualified plans, non-qualified plans, equity...  |  Read More

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