Those with mental illnesses not only have to deal with the stress of their condition, but also must put up with reduced health coverage. Many insurers do not cover mental illnesses; those that do, often limit the amount of treatments or medication covered. In fact, those with mental disorders often receive far less coverage than do people with other serious illnesses such as cancer or heart disease. Fortunately, there are a couple of new laws that promise to change the way the insurance industry works for the better. These laws should ensure better mental health coverage than ever.
The first law to watch is the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. This law actually took effect this year. The law states that addiction and mental health coverage must be equal to that provided for other surgical and medical procedures. People who are used to paying higher deductibles will be thrilled to know how much money they can save. Unfortunately, this law does not require insurance plans to cover mental disorders. Insurance companies are also free to limit or exclude certain disorders as they see fit. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act went into effect this July.
The previous law does not cover individual health insurance plans or employer-sponsored plans that cover less than 50 people. The health-care reform law fills in some of these coverage gaps, however. After 2014, all plans sold through state insurance exchanges will be required to offer addiction and mental health coverage equal to the plan’s other benefits. These plans will be offered to individuals and small businesses. Many consider this new law to be a huge step forward, but we will have to wait a few years to see the full effects.
Before these new laws were passed, people with mental health or addiction problems had to suffer high deductibles, treatment limits, and high premiums while receiving less coverage. The reform affects people across the country who want better mental health coverage. The government has also offered a slew of grants to mental health care facilities all over the United States. Many people believe that by increasing the quality of mental health care for all ages, more people will seek treatment when they need it. The future looks very bright for people who suffer with psychological disorders. Whether these new laws provide enough benefit remains to be seen.