The U.S. Virgin Islands is one of 20 United States jurisdictions selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Commercial Parity Policy Academy, according to a press release from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.
The Parity Academy will be a team effort with Commissioner of Health Michelle Davis and VIDOH’s Division of Mental Health, which serves as the territory’s State Mental Health Authority and Single State Agency for Substance Use.
Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter said, “This is great for the Virgin Islands and for people in need of mental health and substance use disorder treatment. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not apply to any U.S. territory, which includes the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008 is applicable to the U.S. Virgin Islands. MHPAEA is a federal law that generally prevents group health plans and health insurance companies that provide mental health or substance use disorder (MH/SUD) benefits from being discriminatory in mental health and substance use disorder treatment, when compared to benefits offered for medical/surgical procedures.”
MHPAEA was further amended by ACA and is now applicable not only to group health insurance but also to individual health insurance coverage. The U.S. Virgin Islands is seeking participation in the Commercial Parity Policy Academy (CPPA) as a means of being included in any reform made to ACA.
The Policy Academy will provide technical assistance both prior to and after the one in-person meeting to be held in mid-April 2017 in Rockville, Md., scheduled for February through August 2017.
For further information, contact the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Division of Banking, Insurance and Financial Regulation on St. Thomas at 774-7166 or St. Croix at 773-6459.
Additional information on this topic and other banking, insurance and financial regulation topics can be found online at www.ltg.gov.vi