I bring you good news on health care (because I know you sure could use it!) via the good folks at Segal: Health care costs will not skyrocket as originally anticipated with the arrival of the new Mental Health Parity Act. In fact, the costs will barely put a dent in the budget. 

The survey, conducted last month polling 21 of the major health care sponsors in the nation, reveals that costs should not exceed anymore than 3%. Out of the 21 companies surveyed, one insurer believed their costs would not be affected at all, 17 believed they would see a 0.1% to 1% increase, and only three believed they would have a larger cost shift between 1.1% to 3%.

Mark your calendars: the law takes effect January 2010, and mandates all employers with 50 or more employees to provide mental and substance abuse benefits equal to medical benefits.

According to Edward Kaplan, senior vice president and national health practice leader at The Segal Company, an average of 5% of employer health plan costs are based on behavioral health conditions. “For many plan sponsors the Mental Health Parity Act will have a minimal impact.” No word yet though on how many wrenches looming health care reform will throw into compliance with the law.

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