[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 21 (Tuesday, February 2, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 5452-5453]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-2166]



Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 21 / Tuesday, February 2, 2010 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 5452]]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

Internal Revenue Service

26 CFR Part 54

[REG-120692-09]
RIN 1545-BI70


Regulations Under the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental 
Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008

AGENCY: Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Treasury.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking by cross-reference to temporary 
regulations and withdrawal of notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: Elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register, the IRS is 
issuing temporary regulations under the Paul Wellstone and Pete 
Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 
(MHPAEA). MHPAEA prohibits group health plans providing mental health 
or substance use disorder benefits along with medical/surgical benefits 
from imposing more restrictive financial requirements or treatment 
limitations with respect to the mental health or substance use disorder 
benefits than the predominant ones imposed with respect to 
substantially all medical/surgical benefits. The IRS is issuing the 
temporary regulations at the same time that the Employee Benefits 
Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor and the Centers 
for Medicare & Medicaid Services of the U.S. Department of Health and 
Human Services are issuing substantially similar interim final 
regulations with respect to MHPAEA for group health plans and issuers 
of health insurance coverage offered in connection with a group health 
plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the 
Public Health Service Act. The temporary regulations provide guidance 
to employers and group health plans relating to the group health plan 
mental health and substance use disorder parity requirements. The text 
of those temporary regulations also serves as the text of these 
proposed regulations. This document also withdraws the notice of 
proposed rulemaking relating to mental health parity requirements for 
group health plans that was published on December 22, 1997 (REG-109704-
97, 62 FR 66967).

DATES: Written or electronic comments and requests for a public hearing 
must be received by May 3, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Send submissions to: CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-120692-09), room 
5205, Internal Revenue Service, P.O. Box 7604, Ben Franklin Station, 
Washington, DC 20044. Submissions may be hand-delivered to: 
CC:PA:LPD:PR (REG-120692-09), Courier's Desk, Internal Revenue Service, 
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20224. Alternatively, 
taxpayers may submit comments electronically via the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (IRS REG-120692-09).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Concerning the regulations, Russ 
Weinheimer at 202-622-6080; concerning submissions of comments, 
Richard.A.Hurst@irscounsel.treas.gov, 202-622-7180 (not toll-free 
numbers).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Paperwork Reduction Act

    The collections of information contained in this notice of proposed 
rulemaking have been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget 
for review in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. 3507(d)). Comments on the collections of information should be 
sent to the Office of Management and Budget, Attn: Desk Officer for the 
Department of the Treasury, Office of Information and Regulatory 
Affairs, Washington, DC 20503, with copies to the Internal Revenue 
Service, Attn: IRS Reports Clearance Officer, SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP, 
Washington, DC 20224. Comments on the collections of information should 
be received by April 5, 2010. Comments are specifically requested 
concerning:
     Whether the proposed collections of information are 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Internal 
Revenue Service, including whether the information will have practical 
utility;
     The accuracy of the estimated burdens associated with the 
proposed collections of information (see the preamble to the temporary 
regulations published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register);
     How to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected;
     How to minimize the burden of complying with the proposed 
collections of information, including the application of automated 
collection techniques or other forms of information technology; and
     Estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of 
operation, maintenance, and purchase of services to provide 
information.

The collections of information are in Sec.  54.9812-1 (see the 
temporary regulations published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal 
Register). MHPAEA includes two new disclosure provisions. First, the 
criteria for medical necessity determinations made under a group health 
plan with respect to mental health or substance use disorder benefits 
must be made available in accordance with regulations by the plan 
administrator to any current or potential participant, beneficiary, or 
contracting provider upon request. MHPAEA also requires the reason for 
any denial under a group health plan of reimbursement or payment for 
services with respect to mental health or substance use disorder 
benefits in the case of any participant or beneficiary must be made 
available upon request or as otherwise required by the plan 
administrator to the participant or beneficiary in accordance with 
regulations. The likely respondents are business or other for-profit 
institutions, and nonprofit institutions. Responses to these 
collections of information are mandatory.
    An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required 
to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a valid 
control number assigned by the Office of Management and Budget.
    Books or records relating to a collection of information must be 
retained as long as their contents may become material in the 
administration of any internal revenue law. Generally tax returns and 
tax return information are confidential, as required by 26 U.S.C. 6103.

Background

    The temporary regulations published elsewhere in this issue of the 
Federal Register revise Sec.  54.9812-1T to the Miscellaneous Excise 
Tax Regulations. The proposed and temporary regulations are being 
published as part of a joint rulemaking with the Department of Labor 
and the Department of Health and Human Services (the joint rulemaking). 
The text of those temporary regulations also serves as the text of 
these proposed regulations. The preamble to the temporary regulations 
explains the temporary regulations.

Special Analyses

    It has been determined that this notice of proposed rulemaking is 
not a significant regulatory action as defined in Executive Order 
12866. Therefore, a regulatory assessment is not required. It has also 
been determined that section 553(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act 
(5 U.S.C. chapter 5) does not apply to this proposed regulation. It is 
hereby certified that the collections of

[[Page 5453]]

information contained in this notice of proposed rulemaking will not 
have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Accordingly, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.
    The proposed rule generally applies to employers who provide health 
coverage through group health plans to employees that include benefits 
for mental health or substance use disorder conditions. The IRS expects 
that the rules to reduce the compliance burden imposed on plans and 
issurers by clarifying definitions and terms contained in the statute 
and providing examples of acceptable methods to comply with specific 
provisions. MHPAEA and the regulations under it do not apply to 
employers with 50 or fewer employees. Moreover, small employers subject 
to the rule that have more than 50 employees will generally provide any 
health coverage through insurance or a third-party administrator. The 
issuers of insurance or other third-party administrators of the health 
plans, rather than the small employers, will as a practical matter, 
satisfy the requirements of the rules in order to provide a marketable 
product. For this reason, the burden imposed by the reporting 
requirement of the statute and this notice of proposed rulemaking on 
small entities is expected to be near zero. For further information and 
for analyses relating to the joint rulemaking, see the preamble to the 
joint rulemaking. Pursuant to section 7805(f) of the Internal Revenue 
Code, this regulation has been submitted to the Chief Counsel for 
Advocacy of the Small Business Administration for comment on its impact 
on small business.

Comments and Requests for a Public Hearing

    Before these proposed regulations are adopted as final regulations, 
consideration will be given to any written comments (a signed original 
and eight (8) copies) or electronic comments that are submitted timely 
to the IRS. Comments are specifically requested on the clarity of the 
proposed regulations and how they may be made easier to understand. All 
comments will be available for public inspection and copying. A public 
hearing may be scheduled if requested in writing by a person that 
timely submits written comments. If a public hearing is scheduled, 
notice of the date, time, and place for the hearing will be published 
in the Federal Register.

Drafting Information

    The principal author of these proposed regulations is Russ 
Weinheimer, Office of the Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel (Tax 
Exempt and Government Entities), IRS. The proposed regulations, as well 
as the temporary regulations, have been developed in coordination with 
personnel from the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of 
Health and Human Services.

List of Subjects in 26 CFR Part 54

    Excise taxes, Health care, Health insurance, Pensions, Reporting 
and recordkeeping requirements.

Withdrawal of Proposed Regulations

    Accordingly, under the authority of 26 U.S.C. 7805, the notice of 
proposed rulemaking (REG-109704-97) that was published in the Federal 
Register on Monday, December 22, 1997 (62 FR 66967) is withdrawn.

Proposed Amendments to the Regulations

    Accordingly, 26 CFR part 54 is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 54--PENSION EXCISE TAXES

    Paragraph 1. The authority citation for part 54 is amended by 
adding an entry in numerical order to read as follows:

    Authority:  26 U.S.C. 7805. * * *
    Section 54.9812-1 also issued under 26 U.S.C. 9833. * * *

    Par. 2. Section 54.9812-1 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  54.9812-1  Parity in mental health and substance use disorder 
benefits.

    [The text of proposed Sec.  54.9812-1 is the same as the text of 
Sec.  54.9812-1T published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal 
Register].

Steven T. Miller,
Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement.
[FR Doc. 2010-2166 Filed 1-29-10; 8:45 am]
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