Harvard Pilgrim Sued Over Refusal To Cover Wilderness Therapy

Troubled teens with substance abuse or mental health problems should take to the woods and, with the aid of trained therapists, work out their problems. It sounds like a great idea. It is also an expensive idea, $500 a day for weeks- or months-long treatment, by some estimates. It’s no wonder, then, that many health insurance plans will not foot the bill for such therapy.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care is the latest insurer to be hit with a lawsuit for refusing to cover wilderness therapy, according to Bloomberg News. A class-action lawsuit was filed on May 12 against Harvard Pilgrim that alleges that not covering wilderness therapy constitutes violating federal mental health parity laws. Parity laws say that health insurers must cover mental health treatment the same way they would cover physical health problems.

“This is the sixth proposed class action involving wilderness therapy to be filed in the past year,” Bloomberg News reports. Lawsuits are also pending against Empire HealthChoice Assurance, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, and Oxford Health Insurance. In December, Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky privately settled a similar lawsuit.

Source: Bloomberg News