After a year of evening news stories about mass shootings and the mental illness that inspired them, President Obama has taken decisive action that should make it easier to access mental health services for 62 million Americans. The President has imposed new rules that require insurance companies to provide coverage for mental health care that is comparable to coverage offered for all other types of illnesses.
The rules are due in part to implementation of the president’s signature Obamacare health policy and in part to a law written in 2008 which prescribed greater parity for mental health care services. The move is welcomed by mental health professionals who have long hoped to see the removal of prejudicial distinctions between physical and mental illness. In other words, the more that mental health is treated as a normal part of overall health, the fewer stigmas there should be in seeking out services.
But, stigma is not the only thing being lowered by the President’s rules. These rules should also lower bureaucratic red tape that keeps people from the help they need. For example, in the past, a person with a physical injury who showed up at the hospital emergency room was admitted and given treatment before submitting to the insurance company. On the other hand, a person with a mental concern like depression or suicidal feelings was required to get the okay from their insurance company first, before receiving treatment. No longer.
The new rules further impose parity by allowing mental health patients to go out-of-state in order to get the best or most appropriate treatment. Cancer patients have long been able to seek out care from treatment centers in other states. Now, persons looking for help with substance abuse or mental illness will be able to do the same.
The new rules offer hope that more people will receive the treatment they need as the barriers to that help are removed. If someone you know is struggling with mental health concerns please contact The Family Guidance Center today.