The American Psychiatric Association, the Connecticut Psychiatric Society, the Connecticut Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and two individuals filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that Anthem Health Plans discriminates against patients with mental illness.
The complaint, filed in federal court, says Anthem and its parent company, Wellpoint, used changes in billing codes as an excuse to reduce the fees paid to psychiatrists. The change in billing codes also increased the cost to patients at a greater rate than for other medical care.
It goes onto allege that Anthem is in violation of the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act — the federal law which sought to end discrimination against those with mental illness.
“APA worked hard to ensure passage of MHPAEA so that mental health patients would not be deprived of treatment or stigmatized for seeking it,” Dr. Dilip Jeste, president of the American Psychiatric Association, said in a press release. “Anthem, Wellpoint companies and others throughout the U.S. need to start respecting the law and our members’ patients and not directly or indirectly inhibit access to the treatment for which the patients and their employers have paid.”