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What You Need to Know: The Parity Law and Act 106 of 1989

Medical staffWhen you are researching drug and alcohol treatment programs for yourself or a loved one, that last thing you want to be worrying about is insurance coverage. Unfortunately that is a reality. Everyone’s insurance coverage for addiction treatment is different, but there are two laws that apply to us all here in Pennsylvania; a federal law, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA), or commonly referred to as Parity Law; and a state law in Pennsylvania, Act 106 of 1989.

The MHPAEA law is an extension of the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996, which “…provided that large group health plans cannot impose annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health benefits that are less favorable than any such limits imposed on medical/surgical benefits.” [reference:]

MHPAEA preserves these protections, adds new protections and extends the requirements to substance use disorders.

As with all laws there are certain exceptions and further regulation. Learn more about insurance for addiction here:

Act 106 of 1989 is a Pennsylvania law outlining the mandated minimum benefits for alcohol abuse treatment and drug addiction treatment under most group insurance plans in Pennsylvania.

Minimum Benefits under Act 106:

  1. Up to 7 days detoxification per year – 28 days per lifetime (Includes hospital or non-hospital residential detox program)
  2. Minimum of 30 days non-hospital residential rehabilitation per year – 90 days per lifetime
  3. Minimum of 30 full session visits of outpatient or equal partial hospitalization visits (sometimes called Intensive Outpatient) per year – 120 total visits per lifetime

One note to keep in mind relating to Act 106; “All treatment services must be provided in a program licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health specifically to provide alcohol and other drug treatment.” Malvern Institute is licensed for alcohol and drug addiction treatment.


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