People with mental health conditions – such as addiction, depression, and bipolar disorder – deserves the same level of insurance coverage as people with other forms of life-threatening maladies. Insurance parity is of the utmost importance as it can save lives. Unfortunately, and despite specific laws, many Americans still struggle to get treatment coverage.
It is now ten years since the passing of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008. The legislation is intended to compel insurance companies to cover mental illness, in the same way, they would include treatment for other conditions. In conjunction with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions more Americans can access life-saving help.
Still, we have a long way to go to ensure coverage for individuals who require assistance. One of the developers of the MHPAEA launched a campaign to make sure the law is being implemented by insurers.
Mental Health Parity, Needed Now More Than Ever
Former U.S. Congressman, Patrick Kennedy – the son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy – spoke recently about addiction, suicide, and mental health parity. In an interview with U.S. News & World Report, Kennedy fielded questions about ever-rising overdose death and suicide rates, and his “Don’t Deny Me” campaign. He also points to funding, or a lack thereof, as a primary cause for concern in addressing the problems we face as a nation.
“As a nation, we’re absolutely in denial about how bad this crisis is,” said Kennedy. “If this were some other illness that evoked the same type of compassion that other illnesses receive, we would be spending dramatically more money to combat these rising suicide and overdose rates.”
The former Congressman understands that addressing the issue rests, in part, on access to and coverage for evidence-based treatments. Despite the MHPAEA and Affordable Care Act, insurance companies routinely attempt to provide the bare minimum of coverage. It is apparent that some providers still discriminate against people with mental illness and will find methods of denying coverage.
“In the “Don’t Deny Me” campaign, we are taking a two-track approach,” states Kennedy. “We’re facilitating the ability of consumers to file appeals when they feel they’ve been wrongfully denied access to mental health and addiction care. We also have a complaints registry, because you can’t expect the millions and millions of Americans who are wrongfully denied care to be fighting this battle all individually …. We have not imposed enough liability on the part of insurers to make them do what they need to do, and that’s to follow the law and to save these lives.”
Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment
At HVRC, we understand the difficulty that comes with getting coverage for mental health. Not only are we in-network with many insurance providers, we can also communicate with your insurer to obtain your specific benefits. If you are struggling with addiction or co-occurring mental illness, please contact us today to learn more about our program and take the first step toward long-term recovery.